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ITO e-learning achievement

ITO e-learning achievement

Speech to the Seafood Industry Training Organisation – programme launch and certificate awards, Beehive, 28 October 2004

It’s a pleasure to be here today for the official launch of the e-facilitator qualification. This is an important training programme that has been developed over the past two years and is now ready to make a significant difference across the whole of the industry training field. We are also here to recognise the achievements of some of those who have already been helped by the pilot programme, but more about that later.

Universal application

While the qualification we are celebrating tonight has been developed by the Seafood Industry Training Organisation, it was always intended to be available to all industries. However, SITO is to be congratulated for identifying an important need and meeting it. Many of you will be aware that this is a project originally funded in 2002 as part of a package to enhance e-learning in the workplace. SITO’s research at the time of putting together its bid for Government funding in 2002 identified that one of the greatest barriers to e-learning was a lack of human support. E-learning was found to work much better when there was someone trainees could interface with, as well as the computer. So the logical step was to create an e-facilitator.

“Train the trainers”

Others will talk more about the process later, but this was obviously a classic case of needing to “train the trainers”. That’s the challenge accepted by project manager Stephanie Chilcott and the outcome is a new industry-wide e-learning platform to join the already well-accepted workplace training and assessment programmes run by the ITOs. It’s also a recognition of change – that computer-based training is becoming the norm, for a variety of reasons. Change is a dynamic affecting all industries and it’s an ongoing process, so we all need to constantly re-evaluate where we’re going and how we can best teach the skills we need for the future. The importance of IT has been recognised in many ways by the Government but, for those of you here tonight, the most significant aspect is how it fits with the overall task you have been given, and that’s building and maintaining the skills needed by your particular industries.

Greater investment

The Government has shown it is willing to play its part in up-skilling the workforce. Government investment in industry training has increased from $63 million when Labour came to power in 1999, to $84 million in this year’s Budget. By 2007 the fund will have grown to a record $137 million. Industry training performance figures show the Government’s investment in industry training is really paying off. We had 20,000 more people in industry training in 2003 than we had in 2002 The number of National Certificates completed is up 45% And 4,630 more employers provided industry training to their employees in 2003 compared to 2002 figures. Modern Apprenticeships is also a significant and valuable part of industry training. As at 30 June this year 6,874 young people were participating in workplace learning towards national qualifications.

New investment

As part of the new skills package announced recently, we want to see that figure grow to 8,500 by June 2005, compared with the original goal of 8,000 by the same time in 2006. To achieve this we have provided additional funding of around $8.9 million over the next four years. A one-off addition of $5 million is also being made to fund 5,000 additional industry-training places during 2005. Provision has already been made for funding above this level in 2006 and beyond. And we’ve set aside $2 million to fund a pilot providing post-placement support and training for former Work and Income clients who have completed Training Opportunities (TO) study and entered work. The pilot will fund up to 250 TO graduates to obtain industry specific qualifications so they have better career and earning prospects.

Delivery methods changing

One thing that has become clear in recent years is that the methods of training delivery are changing. The need for apprentices to go off for block training, for example, has been replaced in some cases by web-based study. When it comes to e-learning, Government has a clear view of its importance as expressed by its IT strategy, which states: "All New Zealanders, either as individuals or as members of communities, will have the opportunity to access and effectively use current and emerging information and communication technologies. "This will enable individuals and communities to participate fully in the economic, social, educational, cultural and democratic opportunities available in an information society." The e-facilitation qualification is yet another example that e-learning has come in from the margins of education to be an integral part of one cohesive system.

Time to recognise excellence

It’s time to now recognise the achievements of some of those who have helped make the new e-facilitation qualification a success. I understand there are 35 people who have already met the criteria through the pilot programme and we have three of them here tonight to receive a certificate marking their achievement. They are: Leah Knight, Rose Martin, and Kevin Fisher. Congratulations to you all, and especially SITO for providing an environment that fosters excellence of this kind. Your successes are also a tribute to those who have supported you while you have been working so hard towards your educational goals. What is equally as important is that you now have the ability to work to improve the educational outcomes of others.

Innovative thinking

Finally, I’ve not said much about the detail of the new e-facilitation qualification that I am launching here tonight, because Stephanie Chilcott will tell you more about it. But I do want to say that it reflects the type of innovative thinking that we need to see emulated across all industries. E learning is a way of the future and this project will help to ensure that New Zealand industry stays at the forefront of modern training methodology.

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