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Industry Training Act Passes But Opportunities Lost

Industry Training Act Passes But Opportunities Lost
15 April 2014

At the end of the Government initiated Industry Training Review, Parliament today passed the Industry Training and Apprenticeship Amendment Act, which updated the previous Industry Training Act. The Industry Training Federation Chief Executive Mark Oldershaw however believes that the resulting legislation represents a genuine missed opportunity.

“The new industry training Act was frankly trying to address an issue in the industry training sector that existed 2 to 3 years ago and the sector has well and truly moved on since then,” said Mark. Part of the intension of the new legislation is to lift the performance of the ITO sector and to ensure that ITOs remain well aligned with employers.

“The ITO sector has seen a significant consolidation in terms of the number of ITOs over the last 2 years, having reduced from around 36 to 14 ITOs that exist today. This has resulted in a smaller number of much better-resourced entities that are able to be more agile and responsive to employer needs” said Mr. Oldershaw.

“The real missed opportunity here however is that the scope of the industry training review was extremely narrow and only really incorporated a small part of the total vocational education and training (VET) system. What was really required was a fundamental look at the total ‘non-university’ tertiary sector. This would have gone a lot further to address the current skills gaps existing in New Zealand and future skill gaps that are expected.”

“The new legislation is a bit of a mixed bag. An opening up of New Zealand Apprenticeships to encompass all ages of apprentices is a very positive move. The introduction of the direct access to the industry training fund for larger employers however absolutely undermines the recent work the ITOs have made in terms of rationalisation of the ITO sector and of more concern places smaller employers at a much larger risk of increased costs of engaging in industry training.”

ENDS

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