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Qualifications Gained at Work a Positive Opportunity

Qualifications Gained at Work a Positive Opportunity for New Zealanders

At Your Service Aotearoa is supportive of the NZ Talent letter signed this week by more than a hundred New Zealand’s businesses.

Spokesperson Bruce Robertson says it follows on from the manifesto that At Your Service Aotearoa released in July this year, setting out a plan of action for meeting a growing demand for skilled workers. Service industries employ nearly 600,000 full-time equivalents (FTEs) – about a third of people working in New Zealand – making it the economy’s largest per capita sector.

At Your Service Aotearoa is a collaboration of four service industry training organisations (ITOs): ServiceIQ, Careerforce, Skills Active Aotearoa and HITO, the hairdressing, barbering and beauty therapy ITO. The group’s manifesto focused attention on the need for concerted action to address labour constraints and a widening skills gap in sectors which last year generated $48 billion in GDP.

“Ensuring that the service sector has the appropriate mix of trained and skilled people is our main goal”, says Robertson. He adds that there are some misperceptions about service work - one third of roles in the sector are medium to high-skilled ones.

The BERL report commissioned by the group highlights the need for well-trained workers in all the industries covered by the At Your Service Aotearoa ITOs. The report notes that “New Zealand faces similar challenges to the rest of the OECD, with potential shortages of skilled and unskilled staff in the service sectors, and the need for a cohesive and integrated vocational education system that offers opportunities for school leavers and the existing workforce.”

However, New Zealand continues to have issues with young people transitioning from secondary school to work or further education - with many falling between the cracks - and the mismatching of skilled labour with the demand for that labour. BERL points out that, “At Your Service Aotearoa has the ability to work with government to decrease this gap and increase the labour force participation rate of young New Zealanders.

“As well, changing customer preferences and technology are impacting on the service sector. This means existing workers need to undertake regular training to maintain and grow their skill base, gain qualifications, and meet customer expectations.”

The At Your Service Aotearoa group will continue to work with the companies that are signing up to NZ Talent. “Many of them already offer and encourage their employees to gain recognised national qualifications in their workplaces, earning while they are learning,” says Bruce Robertson. “We’ll be talking to those that don’t.”


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