10 August 2006
Skills of Construction Industry Staff Earn Recognition
Having their skills formally assessed will help workers in New Zealand's infrastructure industries fast track their way to national qualifications under a new agreement between The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand and InfraTrain, the infrastructure Industry Training Organisation.
InfraTrain is responsible for developing, facilitating and managing national unit standards and qualifications in areas ranging from business and asset management to civil construction and engineering, surveying, and architectural technology and design. Under the agreement The Open Polytechnic will assess prior learning for an initial group of 96 contracting and associated industry employees and involving 21 qualifications.
A specialist Centre for Assessment Services established three years ago by The Open Polytechnic has developed a series of robust assessment tools for evaluating candidates' current workplace evidence.
"These are people who have extensive experience and practical knowledge in their specialist fields but have no formal vocational or professional qualifications," says Dr Ann Balcombe, the Centre's director.
"The qualifications the InfraTrain candidates are being assessed for are at National Certificate or Diploma level. The techniques are already well proven across a wide range of professions and we deliver against consistent standards across the country.
"Recognising skill levels is a key issue for industry and is the first step in raising overall skill levels in the economy. There are many people who are proficient in their job but who have no formal recognition. That is the first step to further upskilling for their job or career progression."
John Wills, InfraTrain CEO said the partnership was an excellent example of ITO-education provider collaboration. "It's about providing a rapid, robust assessment service for our trainees that enables them to successfully complete their qualifications. We are using a service which The Open Polytechnic already has in place and has proven to be very successful."
The Open Polytechnic Chief Executive Paul Grimwood said the partnership was an exciting development that builds on a strong relationship with InfraTrain. "It is in line with Government thinking on how industry and polytechnics should work together.
"We believe there are many opportunities for ITOs and other national organisations to make use of the unique tools the Centre for Assessment Services has developed," he said.