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Partnership to increase workforce skills announced

Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister for Tertiary Education
Hon Maryan Street
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education

30 January 2008 Media Statement
Partnership to increase workforce skills announced today

Business, workers and government have agreed to a bold partnership for tackling the future skill needs of New Zealand.

Tertiary Education Minister, Pete Hodgson, and Associate Tertiary Education Minister, Maryan Street, will co-chair a cross government, business and industry forum to implement a Skills Strategy for New Zealand to better enable Kiwis to contribute to New Zealand’s economic transformation.

“Eighty per cent of the workers we will have in 2020 are already working, so to raise our skill levels, work needs to be targeted across a wide range of society – from people already in employment, educators and industry, to those who have just started school,” said Pete Hodgson.

“Our future prosperity will depend on having a highly-skilled population, effective managers and an education and training system that responds to the changing needs of business,” said Business New Zealand’s Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly.

A survey released in December 2007 found 800,000 of working Kiwis do not have the skills needed to participate fully in a knowledge-based economy, and this figure is similar in other developed countries.

“That figure demonstrates the huge untapped potential in our existing workforce. The Labour-led government will invest in those already at work and this will ensure that our businesses increase their productivity and our workers increase their skills,” said Maryan Street.

New Zealand Council of Trade Union’s Secretary Carol Beaumont said for the first time there will be a concerted effort to look beyond routine training issues.

“Now we have an opportunity to look at how skills are used, valued and retained, and how learner and employer demand is met. We will also be able to understand which skills lead to a high performance workplace, and how young workers can be better supported into careers.”

Work on the Strategy ranges across literacy, language, and numeracy work, to the supply and demand side of skills in the workplace, and alignment with tertiary reforms.

“I look forward to further announcements as work progresses.” said Pete Hodgson.

The Skill New Zealand Forum – brings together government, workers and employers – is driving the work involved in developing the Skills Strategy. The Forum includes:

Secretary of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions
Chief Executive of Business New Zealand
Chair of the Industry Training Federation
Minister for Tertiary Education
Associate Ministers for Tertiary Education
Minister of Labour
Minister for Social Development and Employment
Chief Executives of the Ministry of Social Development, Department of Labour, Tertiary Education Commission, Ministry of Economic Development
Secretary for Education
Chair of the Tertiary Education Commission

A copy of the Cabinet Paper Developing a unifying Skills Strategy for New Zealand can be found at www.tec.govt.nz


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