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Central and local government working together

Hon Steve Maharey

6 June 2001 Speech Notes

Papakura - A Learning City

Central and local government working together

Speech at the declaration of Papakura as a Learning City. Hawkins Centre, Papakura.

Introduction

Thank you for inviting me to attend this occasion and to co-sign the Declaration of Papakura as a Learning City.

I look forward to signing my name alongside His Worship Mayor Buist’s. Such an act symbolises the important partnership between central and local government that the Labour-Alliance coalition has been working to develop.

I have been fortunate in the level of initiative and collaboration I have encountered from local government in my Employment portfolio, and I am pleased to see it extend to tertiary education as well.

Papakura - A Learning City

Papakura District Council is to be commended on initiating the Learning City concept. From the Government’s perspective, I see the Learning City concept as being the first step in meeting the needs of the people of Papakura as they respond to the technological challenges of the knowledge society of the 21st century.

Your initiative is compatible with the Labour-Alliance Government’s own initiatives for diversifying the skill base. We have:

- Introduced a programme of Modern Apprenticeships to provide a new learning option for young people leaving school;

- Initiated Gateway programmes in 24 schools to allow senior secondary students to participate in structured workplace learning; and

- Announced an E-Learning Advisory Group to consider how New Zealand's tertiary education system can take advantage of new learning technologies.

We have also set aside, in this year’s Budget, $1.75 million to set up some initial Learning and Assessment Centres from 2002. This results from a Budget initiative put forward by the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission.

Learning and assessment centres operate in a number of other countries, like Britain and Canada. They provide an important route for adults to enter the education system and can act as education brokers to facilitate entry into appropriate education programmes. They also have a role in providing a learning hub and support centre for students participating in e-learning programmes.

I will announce further details of this initiative over the next few months.

Building pathways to the knowledge society

Like all the Government programmes I have described, the Learning City concept is designed to build pathways for increasing skills to facilitate participation in the knowledge society.

Learning, and access to learning opportunities, is vitally important to New Zealand in building a true knowledge society. The quality of our knowledge and skills base will determine New Zealand’s future success in the global economy and as a cohesive society.

Entering the new century, New Zealand is confronted by a significant array of challenges. We face an increasingly global economy, demographic changes and rapid technological change.

Papakura District Council is meeting those challenges today.

Your Learning City concept focuses on bring together flexible learning systems in a way in which all Papakura will have the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills they need.

The Learning Shop and the Learning Centre that will follow on from the Declaration of Papakura The Learning City will give potential learners much more flexibility about what, where, when and how they access either formal or informal learning.

Papakura will be better placed to secure an increase in skills and employment for its people through:

- Co-operation, collaboration and the sharing of resources;

- Identifying barriers to developing further learning capabilities and means to address these barriers;

- Creating links with existing commercial and other business expertise.

The Government over the next year will be setting up a new Tertiary Education Commission. The Commission will develop a coherent system of tertiary education through charters and profiles for public-funded providers.

Its job will be made much easier where stakeholders like local government take an active stance -- assessing what they need from the tertiary education system and how the system can provide it.

That is what’s happening here.

Whether you are a trainee, a learning provider, or an employer, it is essential recognise that all people are learners. Everyone can participate in lifelong learning.

I now invite you all, through your actions, to confirm and support Papakura as the Learning City.


ENDS

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