31 May 2004
Workplace Learning Tackles Skill Shortages
The new workplace learning representatives scheme will help to tackle skill shortages by giving workers better opportunities to train and gain more qualifications, Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson said today.
The Budget provided $1.12 million over four years to pilot the scheme, based on the successful UK model.
Workplace learning representatives are usually elected by their colleagues. They are then trained to understand the qualifications system, and to have a broad knowledge of what training is available for workers.
In the workplace, they advocate on-going training and professional development both on the job and in outside institutions.
The aim is for workers to improve their skills and gain qualifications.
The CTU had advocated the system be established in this country.
“If lifelong learning is to be a reality, rather than just a buzzword, we need more support for workers to develop and maintain relevant skills,” Ross Wilson said.
To develop a high-wage, high-skill economy, investment must be made in our skill base, he said. This means supporting our current workforce as well as those yet to start paid work.
The CTU had already rolled out a very successful programme for health and safety training.
“We see the development of learning representatives as another opportunity to build high quality workplaces,” Ross Wilson said.