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The ‘Skill Wave’

11 October 2001 Media Statement

The ‘Skill Wave’

Polytechnics have the opportunity to stamp their mark on New Zealand’s economic and social development over the next few years, says Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education) Steve Maharey.

Under the banner Skilling the Nation, polytechnics are hosting a conference in November bringing together business and education experts and commentators to review the findings of the recent Knowledge Wave conference and to propose strategies for going forward.

"Small and medium-sized enterprises emerging in the economy are going to give us the lift we need to move forward. To do this they require skilled and capable staff.

"This is a very important conference coming at a crucial time. The Knowledge Wave conference set the direction. It’s now time for action and polytechnics need to be better connected to their regional economies and should be a source of drive and leadership.

"A key to the success of other similar-sized countries such as Ireland, Singapore and Finland has been a well-educated and skilled workforce which can turn its hand to modern technology and industry practice. We need to move quickly to catch the knowledge wave with a matching skill wave.

The Association of Polytechnics has put forward a series of propositions in advance of the conference. These include such ideas as:
- Defining skill requirements jointly with the business sector
- Networking with business clusters
- Partnering with other tertiary providers and research organisations
- Setting standards that are globally competitive
- Building learning communities where skill and knowledge is prized
- Encouraging entrepreneurship

"I am looking to this conference for the polytechnic sector to achieve a common direction and sense of purpose on the contribution they plan to make to the development of our knowledge society,” says Steve Maharey.

ENDS

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