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PM launches fresh approach to workplace skills

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister of New Zealand
Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister for Tertiary Education
Hon Maryan Street
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education

22 July 2008 Media Statement

PM launches fresh approach to workplace skills

New Zealand’s competitiveness and productivity will benefit from the new Skills Strategy Action Plan launched by Prime Minister Helen Clark at the Industry Training Federation’s annual conference today.

Helen Clark said the Skills Strategy was the first ever Skills Strategy based on supporting the existing work force and built on a joint government and industry partnership.

“The Skills Strategy Action Plan launched today will advance all levels of skills, including literacy, language and numeracy, trade and technical skills, and degree-level qualifications, as well as specific management and leadership skills,” Helen Clark said.

“This strategy signals a fresh approach to improving workplaces. High levels of literacy and numeracy among workers are essential for businesses to lift productivity, improve competitiveness, innovate and meet changing customer and market demands.

“They also play an important role in ensuring people can find and keep satisfying work and participate fully in family and community life.”

The strategy has been developed by the Skill New Zealand Tripartite Forum led by co-chairs Tertiary Educations Minister Pete Hodgson and Maryan Street. Forum members include Business New Zealand, the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and the Industry Training Federation. The government has also made a long-term commitment with a $168 million injection over four years.

The four areas for action in 2008 are to:

• Improve management and leadership capability in organisations

• Increase the literacy, language and numeracy skills of the workforce

• Create a better match between workers’ skills and industry and regional needs

• Support young people currently in the workforce to increase their skills and engage in relevant training

“Our government has committed to investing heavily in industry training," Helen Clark said.

"With the commitments already made up to and including this year’s Budget, the total amount invested in industry training, per annum, by 2010, will be more than three times as great as that invested in 2000. The number of trainees has already more than doubled during our time in office. In this year’s Budget we provided for annual CPI indexation of the Industry Training Fund over four years – the first time the Fund has been adjusted by forecast CPI.

"This year’s Budget also included $168 million over four years to support the development of literacy, language, and numeracy skills within the existing workforce,” Helen Clark said.

The strategy has undergone a community consultation process which began when the discussion document was released in April 2008 and included 23 public forums in May attended by about 600 people with 65 submissions received.

The Skills Strategy Action Plan is available at:


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