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Government to introduce skills forecasting

14 November 2001 Media Statement

Government to introduce skills forecasting

A package of skills forecasting initiatives were announced by Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey today.

With unemployment at a 13-year low skill and labour shortages have been emerging in some regions and sectors of the economy. In addition what are often cited as skills shortages are, in reality, recruitment difficulties or skills gaps. Poor information about where skills shortages are likely to emerge means it is difficult for the Government, employers, workers and school-leavers to get sufficient training in time to plug the gaps.

Steve Maharey said the Government has decided on a series of short and medium term initiatives which combined constitute a skills information action plan.

“New Zealand’s future prosperity relies on the capability of our people. Making the best of this capability requires the matching of the capacity of the workforce with the job opportunities available.

“Skills shortages today are a reflection of yesterday’s neglect. As a nation we have failed to properly connect the emerging and future needs of the labour market with decisions taken by learners and by training providers. Good quality information about future skill needs is not currently available to help people making career and training decisions.

“Recent work with the forestry and boat-building industries to identify their future skill needs has convinced the Government that we should adopt the same approach across the economy.

“This is not a return to the workforce planning approach of the past. Instead we will be forecasting future workforce needs and making this information available to industry, education institutions and potential employees so that they can make quality decisions that position them well for tomorrow’s labour market.

“The skills information action plan involves 12 related initiatives. These include:
- the development of a new occupational/skill forecasting model (to assist stakeholders to make more informed decisions about education and training);
- enhancing Work and Income’s job talent bank to speed it up and significantly reduce the cost of ‘matching’ for job seekers and job changers;
- making existing labour market information publicly available and improving regional skill reports produced by several Government agencies;
- requiring Industry Training Organisations to undertake strategic assessments of industry skill needs;
- conducting further industry case studies to gain an understanding of the underlying causes of skill shortages and to encourage better matching; and
- improvements to the KiwiCareers web site.

“A number of other initiatives are under active discussion at the moment and further announcements can be expected over the coming year,” Steve Maharey said.

ENDS.

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