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Maharey calls for skills shake-up

Hon Steve Maharey
Minister of Social Services and Employment
Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education)
Minister for Community and Voluntary Sector
MP for Palmerston North

11 March 2000

Maharey calls for skills shake-up

Associate Education Minister (Tertiary) Steve Maharey today called for greater public recognition and acknowledgment of vocational qualifications, including those gained through on-the-job education and training.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony in Hastings for Heinz Wattie Australasia employees who have completed National Certificates in Food Processing, and Leadership Certificates, Steve Maharey suggested that what is now required is a commitment to a knowledge society.

"The new Government is made up of two parties with a strong commitment to education and skills training. We want to see more New Zealanders taking up these opportunities and we are prepared to think through the way trainees learn so that learning becomes a viable option for those who need to build up their skills.

"National's vision of the 'knowledge economy' was narrow and elitist and heavily focused on the universities and polytechnics. The reality is that if we are to create a knowledge society in New Zealand, we must build from this base to ensure that the widest possible range of education and skills training opportunities are accessible and attractive.

"New Zealand's skill base has been allowed to run down to such an extent that we now have skills shortages and a level of unemployment that is unacceptably high. We plan on restoring skills training to its rightful place as a centre-piece of Government policy.

"Later this month the Government will be making an announcement on the shape of its Modern Apprenticeship scheme and I am also conducting a review of the overall industry training regime this year. Our future prosperity as a nation will be built on the skills of our people.

"This Government is committed to fostering talent and building skills", Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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