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Gateways from School to Work - Maharey Speech

6 June 2000 Speech Notes

Gateways from School to Work

Opening comments to the Hospitality Standards Institute Strategic Workshop. Richard Pearse Quest Hotel, Wellington.

Introduction

I am delighted to be here with you today at the start of what I sense will be a very important workshop for the Hospitality Standards Institute.

Yours is a high performance ITO.

I understand that as at December last year you had 776 trainees in training agreements. I also understand that you have already exceeded your targets for this year.

With 23 qualifications at various levels of the National Qualifications Framework you are now well placed to build on a track record of achievement and a high stock of credibility within the industries that you serve.

I am here today to say a number of things. And the first thing that I want to say is that the Government that I am part of is committed to an on-going partnership with you.

Partnership is one of the cornerstones of our approach to industry training. Your ITO is, in effect, the embodiment of a partnership between Government and your industry. And as a mature organisation your ITO will be the vehicle through which you will maintain the other partnerships that are the key to growing industry training - partnerships with providers, with members of the Official family like Skill NZ, the Qualifications Authority, and Careers New Zealand, and, not least, with the communities in which your industry is situated.

I want to spend the time I have with you talking about the Government's intentions in two areas – the transition from school to work, and apprenticeship education and training.
The transition from School to Work

It has been said that this Government is a manifesto driven Government – policies continue to be very directly informed by the manifestos released before the election by the Labour Party and the Alliance.

We are manifesto driven.

The manifesto is important because it was developed in consultation with a range of key portfolio stakeholders – and that is something that some commentators seem to forget. From time to time one gets the impression that some see the manifesto having been developed behind closed doors by grey suited men in a smoke filled room.

And the manifesto is important because it is the basis of our contract with the electorate, and, as we implement it, the process becomes the basis of repairing the fabric of our democratic system.

I want to talk to you today about honouring a manifesto commitment that I see as a key one.

And I have chosen today to talk about it because you have taken the lead in this area.

I was greatly encouraged to read a press release from you last week about the joint initiative you are taking with the NZ Chef's association and hotels nationwide to get young people hooked on the hospitality industry.

Your OASIS initiative involves strategies to give secondary school students real hands on experience in the hospitality industry.

The press release talks a language that I find very attractive – you talk about passing on knowledge and experience from people who are passionate about the industry they work in. You talk about putting the industry's best and most passionate in front of school students.

What I find particularly attractive about the OASIS initiative is that the industry is wanting to move beyond the 'work experience' model to one in which partnerships between the industry and schools allow student to pick up NQF linked unit standards while they are still at school.

Given that we have 120 secondary schools in New Zealand registered to offer the National Certificate in Hospitality at Level one on the National Qualifications Framework that is an impressive platform on which to launch a very robust partnership between schools and the industry.

I realise that not all students will necessarily be able to pick up unit standards as part of the OASIS initiative, but I very much hope that NQF linked learning becomes the default.

Your objective is to make the transition from school to work as seamless as possible. That is my objective as well.

And so to the manifesto that I was talking about earlier.

In '21st Century Skills: Labour's Training Strategy', we had this to say:

"…as young people stay on at secondary school there is a real need for work and life skills that make it easy to get into Polytechnics, University or training based at work. Government's role under Labour will be to create clear pathways for all learners for a smooth transition to further training and work".

An education and training leaving age strategy will provide the strategic framework.

Data from the last (1996) census show that in 1996 more than a quarter of all 16 and 17 year olds (around 26,700 individuals) were outside education and full-time employment. For Maori 16 and 17 year olds, the data shows that more than a third (6,900 young people) were outside education and full-time employment.

I have instructed officials to start work on an education and training leaving age strategy that would involve the Labour-Alliance Government making a commitment to a medium term goal of all young people being voluntarily in education, training or employment with a strong educational element, up to the age of 18.

Our manifesto goes to a number of issues:

 Policies for youth employment
 Career planning and advice
 School-Business partnerships
 The Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource Funding (STAR)
 And Modern Apprenticeships

I want to talk about Modern Apprenticeships in a moment.

But there is one other key element of the mix that I want to focus on first. And that is the Gateway Programme.

Gateway is a new programme designed to provide young New Zealanders with the opportunity to mix experience in a variety of workplaces with normal course work. The aim is to build a bridge between school and the workplace.

We already have the STAR initiative.

Schools receive STAR funding for the purpose of offering courses to their senior students. STAR funding is provided in order to allow students to undertake courses of study and/or workplace experience that lead to skills and qualifications which promote their transition from school to work or further education.

The total funding pool for STAR in the present financial year is $24.5 million.

The proposed Gateway programme is about bridging school and work through work-based education and training for senior secondary school students.

What is unclear at this point is the extent to which the STAR funds are being used to provide NQF linked vocational education and training pathways for senior secondary school students, and I have asked the Department of Labour to take the lead in examining school to work transition issues, and in analysing the kinds of programmes that are being purchased through the STAR funds.

What I want to see is a much greater range of school based pathways, and I am determined to ensure that funding is used to provide for vocational and academic pathways.

Our young people are staying on in school for longer, and I want to ensure that the education and training they receive is appropriate to their requirements. I do not want to place our senior secondary school students in streams that are designated as having a higher or lower status and out of which they are unable to break.

But I do want students to have the choice – I want a student who is looking at a career in the Hospitality industry to be able to start on a career pathway while they are still at school.

I want a student who is keen on taking up a career in journalism to be able to pick up unit standards towards a Diploma in Journalism while they are still at school.

I want the student who is keen on an engineering apprenticeship to be able to pick up unit standards through a work-based programme while they are still at school.

I want the student who is keen on a career in the forestry industry to be able to start down her or his preferred career path while they are still at school.

And I want them all to have the choice of taking a course in Te Reo or in English literature at the same time.

I was excited and encouraged when I saw the details of the OASIS initiative.

On behalf of the Government I want to announce an initiative of our own today which I hope will signal to schools, ITOs, and providers that we want to see more of what you intend doing.

The Government has decided to re-prioritise $4 million of the present STAR budget over the next three years for use to pilot the Gateway programme.

The Government will defer final decisions on the shape of the Gateway pilots until we have the results of the review of STAR that I talked about earlier, but at this point my sense is that we will be looking for the pilots to generate some best-practice models that schools can adopt in developing their own relationships with providers.

I am also interested in looking at how we can take some of the pressure off schools when it comes to securing vocational education and training places within local industry. The initiative that I want to discuss with you in a moment is based on using coordinators or brokers to take the pressure off employers. Perhaps we need a similar coordination or brokerage function to assist schools and employers to develop partnerships and pathways.

One of the reasons why I am keen on addressing the issues of pathways out of school is because I want to bridge the gap between school and Modern Apprenticeships.

Modern Apprenticeships

I want to increase the opportunities - for young people in particular - to undertake employment based and mentored training. 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. I want to see Modern Apprenticeships in the Hospitality industry.

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. Pilots are due to start next month.

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.

Conclusion

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.

In conclusion, let me wish you well for your strategic planning workshop and congratulate you again on what you have achieved.

I look forward to working with you – I congratulate you on the OASIS initiative, and I trust that you will invite me back to celebrate its success with you. I am delighted to be able to indicate the Government's support for that initiative and to signal that, through the Gateway programme, we will be looking to others to follow your example. Thank you.

ENDS

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