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King: Public Sector Training Org Graduation

Annette King speech: Public Sector Training Organisation Auckland graduation

Thank you very much for inviting me to join you at this celebration of achievement.

On behalf of the Government I want to congratulate all this year's graduates, and also, just as importantly, all the people who have supported and assisted the graduates during their studies.

My colleague, Associate State Services Minister Parekura Horomia, spoke at the Public Sector Training Organisation Wellington graduation ceremony last month, an honour I had in 1995, and I am very pleased to be in Auckland today to recognise all those who are graduating here, as well as their family and friends.

Parekura and I have a considerable interest in your achievements – and we also have a stake in them, as all of you do.

This year, across New Zealand, nearly 500 people from 17 different government agencies are graduating from structured workplace learning courses that have been arranged through PSTO, as the Public Sector Training Organisation is known.

Here today in Auckland we have 52 graduates from 10 separate agencies. Congratulations to you all and, on behalf of New Zealanders, thank you again very much for the effort you've put into improving your qualifications and your skills.

Between you you have an impressive range of qualifications. Many of you are receiving national certificates in First Line Management, but there are certificates and diplomas in many more specialist areas, such as border management, revenue law, public sector services and intelligence analysis. The list goes on.

I also note that a number of you are graduating in business related programmes, an indication of the increasing importance of the State sector to New Zealand's economic wellbeing.

A total of sixteen people around the country have graduated with the National Diploma in Public Sector Maori this year, the largest single group so far gaining this important qualification.

The Government also continues to make increased commitments to the Modern Apprenticeship Programme. I'm aware that 68 modern apprentices employed at the Ministry of Social Development graduated earlier this year, and my colleague Social Development and Employment Minister David Benson Pope presented them with their certificates.

The achievements of today's graduates are not just personal ones, important though they are in terms of personal career development. They also represent part of your contribution to the Development Goals, launched by the State Services Commission in March last year to create a system of a world class State Services for New Zealand.

In relation to that, it was good news to hear today that New Zealand has now reached number one, along with Finland and Iceland, on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index. Our three countries are considered the least corrupt in the woprld. It makes you pleased to be a state servant.

The second of the development goals, Excellent State Services, is designed to drive a strong culture of constant learning in the pursuit of such excellence, and is, of course, particularly relevant to what we are celebrating here today.

P(e)STO is working hard, in collaboration with many government agencies, to develop such a culture of excellence, and I think it's fair to say that everything has gone up a gear in the past year now that there is greater understanding of what the goals mean.

There is no doubt in my mind that the more we develop a culture of constant learning, the better we can make progress in another key Development Goal --- that the State Service is a clear employer of choice in New Zealand, an employer of choice that attracts high achieving people and people who are committed to service.

But to go back to the individual level, I cannot emphasise enough that the more skills and competencies you develop, the better you can participate on the broad playing-field that the State sector represents. You can move more easily through doors in an organisation that employs almost 200,000 people and that offers an incredible range of interesting jobs all over the country.

One of the advantages of the qualifications you gain through P(e)STO is that they are well recognised and transferable within the wider State sector. That can only be good for your careers.

I'm sure representatives here today from the senior levels of the State sector would endorse those comments from their own experience.

As I said, things have stepped up a gear in the last year. Indeed, P(e)STO has been tested to its limits, with a 70 per cent increase in enrolments. It's good to see such strong commitment, across so many agencies, to developing the skills and knowledge of their staff.

From a national point of view, the work you are committed to is vital to achieving the Government's broader aim of economic transformation. To do this we must have the right skills and competencies in our workforce. We must have a workforce that is adaptable and can respond positively to future change.

We need a State sector full of high performers who can serve the people and communities of New Zealand in a way that is second to none. The last thing we need is a philosophy of just getting by. We deserve a State sector that is world class.

We are well down the track to achieving this aim, but, to quote that old cliché, there's always room for improvement. P(e)STO is certainly part of the improvement process. It will continue to adapt the ways it does its business in order to meet demand and evolving learning and development needs in the State sector.

P(e)STO will continue to work with government agency clients to develop qualifications that are relevant today and in the future.

Congratulations again to all today's graduates, and thank you again very much for inviting me to join you.


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