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Skilling the Nation - Polytechnic Implications

Te Aka Haumi O Ngā Kuratini O Aotearoa

Media Release

11 October 2001

“Skilling the Nation” – Implications for the Polytechnic Sector

“Enough talking about the knowledge wave, it is now time for sectors to take leadership and deliver their strategies for the future” is the message coming from the polytechnic sector as they launch the details of their upcoming conference.

The conference, called “Skilling the Nation” is bringing together business, polytechnic and political sectors for the first time to discuss future initiatives that can be undertaken by the polytechnic sector to ensure that New Zealand is adequately skilled to capture the knowledge wave.

“Our challenge to the polytechnic sector is to take a leadership role in the economic development of New Zealand and commit to the planning process the conference has been built around,” said Jim Doyle, Executive Director of the Association of Polytechnics in New Zealand.

“Prior to the conference we are circulating a set of propositions for the sector to consider.

“We are also asking for business and Maori to participate in this consultation process by including themselves in the debate around these propositions and by coming to the conference.

“Skilling the Nation will deliver strategies on the practical steps needed to ensure New Zealand has the relevant skills mix to participate in and drive forward the economic development of our country,” said Mr Doyle.

The key propositions for discussion in the lead up to and during the conference include:

 Defining relevant skills requirements with the business sector, and initiating processes that continually and adaptively keep pace with changing employer needs.

 Upskilling business, which may need at times to be facilitated by appropriate changes to the structure of business, Government, and the Polytechnic sector.

 The polytechnic sector must align itself with emerging and existing clusters and give support and leadership to those clusters.

 The polytechnic sector needs to take a leadership role in identifying skills and human capital requirements that will attract international companies to New Zealand.

 Partnerships with research agencies and individual businesses, within New Zealand and overseas, should be given priority. The polytechnic sector can specialise in the conversion of knowledge into applicable skills through its own research and development activity.

 While there must be educational opportunity for all, it must add maximum and measurable value both to the learner and society as a whole.

 The polytechnic sector must form partnerships with organisations managing immigration to ensure that skills are rapidly adapted to local needs.

 The polytechnic sector must establish mechanisms both regionally and nationally for recognising achievement and success in teaching, research, and innovation. This should be coupled with a rewards system for on-going training and up-skilling.

 The polytechnic sector must help foster a culture of life-long learning and education through which creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking at all levels within our nation will be developed.

 The polytechnic sector needs to participate in the commercialisation of innovation and development of entrepreneurship through the use of incubators and centres of educational and entrepreneurial excellence.

“It is important that we move beyond ideological debate and into proactive, realistic consideration and implementation of strategies,” said Mr Doyle.

“These strategies need to be collective and ‘owned’ by the parties involved, whether they be the tertiary sector, government, business or Maori. Therefore participation, co-operation and co-ordination is required between all of these organisations.

The conference is being held from 1 November to 3 November in Palmerston North.

Key speakers and panel discussion topics
Session one
Speaker: Dr Séan McDonagh, Director of the Skills Initiative Unit, Ireland
Panel topic: Meeting the nation’s need for a workforce with applied and vocational
Session two
Speaker: Peter Biggs, Managing Director of Clemenger BBDO and Chair of
Creative New Zealand
Panel topic: Meeting the nation’s need for thriving and growing industries
Session three
Speaker: Tahu Potiki, Kairarahi at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute
of Technology
Panel topic: Meeting the goal of full Maori participation in and benefit from the
knowledge society
Session four
Speaker: Dr Edward Guiliano, the President of the New York Institute of
Panel topic: The polytechnic / institute of technology of the future

For further information on the conference contact: Pauline Walker, ++64 4 917 2762,
Media enquiries: Tracy Dillimore, ++64 25 405 595,

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