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On the 10th Day, ITPs Added Training

MEDIA RELEASE

21 March 2009
Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics of New Zealand

On the 10th Day, ITPs Added Training

Embargoed until 1am, Sunday 22 March

Institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs) are offering free or low cost training to employers and employees taking up the 9-day fortnight (formally the Jobs Support Scheme).

“We want to keep people in jobs, so we are happy to be able to sweeten the deal for employers and employees considering the 9-day fortnight. Training is not included in the Government’s core package, but it has always been seen as part of the overall solution,” said Dave Guerin, Executive Director of ITP New Zealand.

The Prime Minister announced the 9-day fortnight on 11 March, stating that training would not be compulsory. He is reported , however, as saying that "we would love to see training, we would like to see the workforce being upskilled”. ITPs have taken up the challenge to make that happen over the last ten days.

“I asked our members on 12 March whether they could put something on the table for employers and employees, and had five offers within 24 hours. Those offers are being released today after further work and discussions with the Government, business and unions. We expect more ITPs to become involved over the coming weeks.”

“ITPs will offer courses within existing funding, using programmes that have already been developed and approved. ITPs have limited flexibility to shift enrolments, but this is an exceptional situation when everyone has to pitch in.”

The five ITPs involved are Aoraki Polytechnic, Eastern Institute of Technology, Otago Polytechnic, The Open Polytechnic and Wellington Institute of Technology. Their offerings and contact details are in the appendix, and comments from some of their CEOs follow.

• Open Polytechnic chief executive Dr Caroline Seelig said her institution had been looking hard at additional ways it could support firms and workers during the recession. “Investing in skills now to weather the current storm and prepare for the economic upturn is something that’s going to benefit workers, businesses and the nation. We believe our national free course offer of 1,500 places is the best way of using the Open Polytechnic’s flexible learning services to give extra support to New Zealand in what is an extraordinarily challenging time.”

• Chief Executive of Wellington Institute of Technology, Dr. Linda Sissons, is keen to work with employers to customise appropriate solutions to better position their organisations and employees for the future. “With productivity being such a major issue for the New Zealand economy, Wellington Institute of Technology has been working for the last few years with a number of employers on productivity improvement initiatives. While the 9 day fortnight may not be a solution for all employers, we certainly hope this will open further dialogue on how productivity training, environmental systems training, and on-site systems and process improvement training can play a positive role for employers and employees. We are keen to work with employers to determine specific training needs – at both the organisational and individual level - and package appropriate solutions accordingly from our wide range of offerings.”

• Otago Polytechnic CEO, Phil Ker said, "the key for the Polytechnic is to be responsive to the needs of industry and the community. Our eight regional learning centres are geared to respond to the region’s needs by way of flexible training support. After all it is about working together."

"It is also vital that we recognize people’s skills and match these with qualifications to prepare for the future. Otago Polytechnic is recognised nationally for this approach and we see it supporting industry and staff no matter what their situation is."

ITPs are working throughout 2009 on a Skilling NZ’s Recovery project. While the 9-day fortnight initiative is helping people stay in jobs, ITPs are also working with students who have deferred job-seeking or been made redundant.

“There has been a 5-10% surge in ITP enrolments this year, as Kiwis invest in their skills. With job growth slowing, ITPs and their students are skilling New Zealand’s recovery. The recession is hitting New Zealand, but ITPs are doing their bit by preparing a more productive workforce to support our recovery,” says Dave Guerin, Executive Director of ITP New Zealand.

ITP New Zealand is the national association for New Zealand’s 20 institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs). Its members provide high-quality, relevant and innovative vocational and applied research and education to over 200,000 New Zealanders every year.

ends

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