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ITO Combats Sector Skills Shortage Despite Rapidly Evolving Environment

Careerforce, the Industry Training Organisation (ITO) for the broader health & wellbeing sectors has released its 2019 annual report at its recent AGM.

2019 was a year of significant disruption for Careerforce with the announcement in February 2019 by Education Minister Hon. Chris Hipkins of the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE); the net effect of which will be the planned disestablishment of industry training organisations.

According to Jane Wenman, Careerforce Chief Executive, "Overall results were very stable with the previous year, a very respectable result given the impacts of RoVE across most of 2019. Despite the continued uncertainty, our staff have just got on with what they do best, supporting our employers and trainees."

Careerforce reported an increased net surplus on 2018, and exceeded both its standard training measure (STM) and activity rate targets. Careerforce had 18,295 learners over 2019, including 2,462 apprentices.

According to Wenman, “the continued growth in apprenticeships across our health and wellbeing sectors was a real highlight, and we continue to break the traditional definition of what apprenticeships can be. With the recent announcement of the Apprenticeship Boost fund, we do expect to see further significant growth in apprenticeship enrolments. Another success story has been the increasing proportion of trainees enrolling in higher level qualifications, a reflection of employers investing in their staff upskilling”.

Careerforce, and all the more so, the over 1000 health and wellbeing employers, and over 18,000 trainees that it supports have recently been working through another challenge – COVID-19. Careerforce applauds the dedication and commitment of these essential workers who have certainly proved their worth at this time. Many of the health and wellbeing sectors continue to have considerable workforce shortage challenges, now exacerbated by an ageing (and more vulnerable) workforce and current immigration restrictions resulting from COVID-19.

In the face of these growing workforce shortages, Careerforce has been working closely with government agencies on initiatives to redeploy COVID-19 displaced workers across its sectors, and into secure, lifelong and rewarding career pathways. Careerforce has also expanded its schools-based activities over the last 18 months to encourage younger workers into the health and wellbeing workforce.

Jane Wenman closed that “although we continue to have uncertainty ahead of us as the RoVE reforms are implemented, our focus remains squarely on delivering to the immediate needs of our sectors and ensuring their workforce development needs are not compromised.”

The Careerforce 2019 Annual Report can be found here.

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