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Celebrating excellence in Industry Training

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

Celebrating excellence in Industry Training

Speech to the Printing and Allied Industries Training Council Apprenticeship Awards.

James Cook Centra, Wellington. 10 May 2000.

Check against delivery.
I'm delighted to be here today at this Apprenticeship Awards function. I do like that that word 'apprenticeship' and I like it even more when it is accompanied by the words 'award', which suggests excellence, and 'function' which suggests good company and food.

The Printing Industry has a very proud tradition in quality industry training, and as the industry has evolved, so too have the number and range of training opportunities within the various branches of the industry.

The Printing and Allied Industry Training Council (PAITC) has been in existence since 1993, but a strong and proud tradition of industry training has always been a feature of this industry. When we celebrate the achievements of those who are receiving awards today – and we should celebrate the achievements – we are also recognising and celebrating those who through their efforts have established such a strong training culture in this industry over so many years.

The Printing industry has retained and expanded on the traditions of apprenticeship, while at the same time adapting training to meet the changing needs of employers, apprentices and trainees, and the community at large (although I should note that different governments perceive the needs of the community in different ways).

Today the industry offers a variety of programmes, ranging from the predominant apprenticeship style programmes, to limited credit programmes, to level 2 introductory courses, and specialised courses. I am delighted that training has been widened and deepened within the industry, and I am particularly delighted that the recipients of the awards today represent not just different branches of the industry, but different levels of achievement on the National Qualifications Framework.

I applaud the fact that the ITO has undertaken a comprehensive review of the structure of your programmes and implemented a number of changes as a result of this review.

In my view the industry is very well placed to not just take advantage of a number of the policies that the Government has introduced, but to take a leading role in implementing a number of these programmes.

Today is about celebrating your achievements as an industry and the personal achievements of the ten recipients of the apprenticeship awards.

It is also about recognising that while the achievements are very much important personal milestones, they also reflect the support and assistance that the recipients undoubtedly have received from their employers, their families and their friends. I know that they will take considerable pride in the achievement of the ten individuals who we recognise today. Their individual achievements should be a matter of pride for you all.

I want to see other industries recognising achievement, and high achievement in particular.

The award recipients have proven their individual capability, and what I want to do is to encourage industry as a whole to work to improve the human capability of the present workforce as a whole, and society as a whole to own the responsibility for growing the capability of the workforce of the future.

Capability is about improving capacity, providing opportunities, and matching the two. And in a personal sense that is what we see here today – capability that has resulted from a matching of capacity and opportunity. Indeed that is what industry training and ITOs are really all about.

I want to increase the opportunities - for young people in particular - to undertake the kind of training and achieve the quality of performance that we are celebrating here today. That is one of the reasons why the Government is introducing a Modern Apprenticeship Scheme.

Due to significant labour market challenges in the last decade, employers have tended to train older, experienced people as apprentices rather than take the risk of employing and training a young person straight from school.

The need of New Zealand as a whole to have young people accessing high quality, work-based education was therefore not being fully met by employers.

The Modern Apprenticeships policy seeks to address this by reducing the costs and risks to employers of employing and training a young person (aged 16-21).

New Apprenticeship Coordinators, contracted by Skill New Zealand, will reduce the costs and risks to employers by:

 Screening potential apprentices;
 Arranging their employment placement(s);
 Managing their training;
 Providing a mentor to support the apprentice; and
 Ensuring that the training is high quality and that it is completed.

Coordinators could be ITOs, community trusts, iwi organisations, or education providers. This provides an opportunity to support community and regional development initiatives.

I want to emphasise to this audience that Modern apprenticeships will complement, rather than replace, existing industry training and other tertiary education pathways.

Modern Apprenticeships will incorporate many features of traditional apprenticeships - for example they will involve systematic employment-based learning with mentoring support. However, they will be in new high technology areas as well as in the traditional trades.

Apprentices will complete industry-recognised, national qualifications at levels 3 and 4. The apprentice’s individual training plan will include a range of generic skills that are needed to foster the flexibility and innovation needed for success in the rapidly changing, internationalised work environment.

Skill New Zealand will implement the Modern Apprenticeships. During 2000, Skill NZ will trial the scheme with a small range of Apprenticeship Coordinators in order to identify the best operating mechanisms prior to expanding the scheme in 2001 and beyond. This pilot phase will be evaluated early next year to inform further development of the scheme.

The aim is to establish 500 apprenticeships by the beginning of 2001 expanding to about 3,000 by the beginning of 2002.

I am going to rely on people like you to play a role in this new initiative, not just from the point of participating in it as an industry, but also providing me with your ongoing assessments on what's working, what's not, and why. This initiative will not realise its potential unless we can harness the incredible stock of knowledge that is represented by the people in this room, and by your industry.

Obviously, ITOs will have a very significant role in supporting Modern Apprenticeships and ensuring their success, by acting as apprenticeship coordinators and by developing effective partnerships with other organisations in order to facilitate Modern Apprenticeships.

I am aware that there are already some arrangements supported by ITOs that are very similar to the proposed ‘Apprenticeship Coordinator’ arrangements. Indeed your own industry displays many of the aims of the Modern Apprenticeship initiative:

 30% of your trainees are aged 21 and under

 your ITO does use liaison officers who liaise with apprentices and their employers

 your industry does tend to use individualised training plans

 and your industry does tend to place a premium on successful completion – I understand that 90% of people who enter a PAITC programme complete a national certificate at level 3 or 4

Let me say to you 'well done' and thank you for taking a leadership role. I very much hope that your industry will continue to provide leadership, that you will embrace this new initiative and play a significant role, if not in the piloting in the second part of this year (and I do not know as this point which industries will be involved in the pilots), then in the roll-out of the programme in 2001.

I have two more matters that I want to comment on before I join in the important part of the day – the presentation of the awards.

Firstly a piece of house-keeping, but one that the members of the ITO community have a direct interest in.

Some of you will be aware that there has been a measure of over-expenditure on the part of Skill New Zealand with the Industry training Fund for the 1999/2000 fiscal year. I am pleased to announce today that I have managed to shift some funding from a lower priority area to enable Skill NZ to remedy the overspend. This is a house-keeping issue, and I am not signalling to the ITO community that we have entered a period of largesse for the balance of the financial year. Nor am I sending any signals about what can be expected in subsequent years.

The second matter is a bitter-sweet one for me, and no doubt for you.

When the history of vocational education and training in this country is written up, and it should be written up by someone, a number of personalities will be prominent because of their contributions. In my opinion one of these is a person who has served this industry particularly well and his community just as well is Michael Leggott. I have known Michael for a number of years. He has been a passionate advocate for the very things that we meet here today to celebrate – quality achievement in industry training.

I said at the outset that words like apprenticeship and award go together nicely. I have to say that the person of Michael Leggott and the notion of retirement seem very ill at ease together. Thank you Michael for your contribution to this industry and to employers and trainees more generally.

And, in conclusion, let me again congratulate those who are about to receive awards – you are a credit to your industry, to your craft and trade, and to your communities. You should be proud. For my part I am proud to be here today to celebrate your achievement.

Thank you

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