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Beat the skills gap with industry training

Beat the skills gap with industry training

17 December 2014

We can beat the skills gap if we meet the future demand for skilled workers in areas such as aged care, says the Industry Training Federation.

“This Christmas we’ll be thinking of growing number of older people who need support,” says Industry Training Federation (ITF) Chief Executive Mark Oldershaw.

“With a rapidly ageing population, we must respond to the need for qualified support workers in a timely and tailored way.”

While around 12,000 support and care workers undertake workforce training across New Zealand each year, the predicted shortfall in support and care workers is a threat to our social and economic wellbeing.

The ITF represents all 12 of New Zealand’s Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) including the health and community support services ITO, Careerforce.

Careerforce has been working with Health Workforce New Zealand to develop a health and disability workforce action plan to respond to the needs of the ageing population and the increasing prevalence of chronic disease.

In Treasury’s Briefing to the Incoming (BIM) for the Minister of Health, it states an appropriately trained support workforce enables people to be cared for in their homes, which frees up hospital beds, benefiting our health system and economy.

The ITF has appealed to the Government for changes in funding and direction to create a more cohesive, efficient industry-led training sector.

“Continued Government support for foundation, or entry-level, qualifications is also critical,” says Mark. Approximately 85% of trainees in the home support, care workforces are completing level 2 or level 3 National Certificates. “This first step is often the most important. Workers gain skills, knowledge, competence and confidence, often to progress their learning.”

However, says Mark, recent Government proposals are to drop back support for foundation education and refocus ITOs on higher levels of learning. “We have made it clear to government that reduced support for entry level qualifications will come at the crucial cost of skilled workers. Now is not the time to discourage training, particularly in sectors such as health and disability.”

The resounding benefits of industry training are evident throughout the health and disability sector on a daily basis, with employers noting the profound improvement in the quality of patient care after training.

“This is the ultimate benefit of training,” says Mark. “Improved quality, productivity, and greater employment opportunities.”

“We are urging the government and industry to work with us to beat the skills gap. We need a more efficient, industry-led training sector, which matches provision to current and future need.”

The ITF is a voluntary membership organisation representing all of New Zealand’s ITOs.

ENDS

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