NZ's skills and productivity issues won't wait
The Industry Training Federation (ITF) says that the changes to the vocational education system announced today must be managed very carefully, because New Zealand's skills shortages and productivity issues won't wait.
"We need to build on the efficiency and success of the ITO-led training system to ensure that employers continue to have strong confidence in the future training options available," says ITF Chief Executive Josh Williams
"We need many more of New Zealand's employers to participate in the vocational system, to address pressing skills shortages and increase the numbers going through our vocational providers."
New Zealand is currently first in the OECD for participation rates in formal on-job training, and earnings research shows that ITO graduates have been earning more than people qualified through other parts of the vocational system.
Last year, ITOs supported over 50,000 apprentices and 88,000 industry trainees. Employers currently qualify 45,000 people a year through the ITO system, at a cost to taxpayers of $3,500 per qualification. This compares with $18,000 per qualification through Private Training Establishments (PTEs) and $19,800 through the Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs).
The efficiency is due to employers contributing their time, equipment, and money to train people through the workplace. Trainees and apprentices 'earn and learn', rather than draw on student loans and allowances.
“It's more important than ever that people can get worthwhile credentials and qualifications, that learners can be recognised for their skills. Learners will also need to be confident that their training and qualifications continue to meet the needs of employers, because the benefits of their training are delivered in the workplace." Mr Williams says.
"Our vocational providers need to be made sustainable, but in the end, industry will be the judge of whether the system is successful. We will work alongside the government and vocational providers through the next stages of these reforms to ensure industry continues to have a strong voice in training, and we should all be worried about anything that reduces that." Mr Williams says.