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Government Seeks Partnerships to Close Skill Gaps

Government Seeks Partnerships to Close Skill Gaps

New information showing the extent of skill gaps in the economy reinforces the need for strong partnerships on skills between the government, employers, unions, Industry Training Organisations and others.

The TMP Job Index Survey comes in the same week as two of the major planks of the government’s $11.6m Skills Action Plan are launched. It shows while employers are optimistic about their staff hiring plans in the coming months, they cite recruitment and retention of skilled staff as the key issue facing them at present.

Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey says the government can't close skill gaps alone but it is committed to being an active partner.

“With unemployment at historically low levels and more New Zealanders in work than at any time in our history emerging skill gaps are to be expected.

“Working alone, government won't close skill gaps but we do have a significant role in developing the solution.

“Lots of work is underway across the government at present. Working on the skills issue requires active partnership to be formed around specific projects. Current work includes:

Tertiary Education Reforms which will give ITO's new responsibilities to take leadership on behalf of employers and unions in their industry to actively plan for their skill needs; Regions, with the assistance of Industry New Zealand, identifying local skill needs; and The Skills partnership between the council of trade unions, Business New Zealand and the government to look at the issue from a national perspective.

Two key planks of the government $11.6 million Skills Action Plan are being launched this week:

WorkSITE – an integrated website (“portal”) which provides a “shopping mall” offering everything you want to know about the New Zealand labour market for job-seekers, employers and others (launched on Monday); WorkINSIGHT - a six-monthly skills report, written in plain English summarising existing information on the supply and demand for skills, including areas of actual or forecast shortage (to be launched tomorrow);

“Providing people with usable and easy to digest information about skill needs is the critical first step in making sure they make the right training choices and equip themselves to be successful in the 21st century labour market," Steve Maharey said.

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