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Forum connects education and work

Media Release
13 August 2013

Forum connects education and work

The importance of creating good connections between education providers and workplaces is the key focus of the Education and Work Settings strategic forum in Wellington tomorrow.

“When it works well, this relationship leads to better outcomes for students, businesses, local communities and New Zealand as a whole.” says Dr Peter Coolbear, Director of the forum’s host, Ako Aotearoa – the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence. “The challenge is to make sure that we retain both educational integrity and workplace relevance in that relationship.”

The Hon Steven Joyce, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment will open the forum, discussing the government’s perspective on promoting education-workplace linkages. New Zealand is currently placed 22nd in OECD rankings of labour productivity, and better connecting education and work is a key way to address this. When communities are involved, these connections can also provide a strong basis for improving social outcomes.

As well as ensuring businesses and our communities have access to the good quality skills and knowledge they need, good connections between education and the workplace helps address issues such as retention rates by demonstrating the relevance and ‘real world’ context for what people learn. Both these benefits will be emphasised in a joint keynote from Professor John Buchanan of The University of Sydney and Professor Richard Coll of The University of Waikato.

One of the key messages of the forum is that connecting education and work is relevant to all types of education – not just those that lead to a specific career. “In areas like traditional trades or the teaching and health professions the value of this connection is obvious,” said Dr Coolbear. “But including work- or profession-based elements in areas like social science or fine arts exposes students to how they might use their skills after they graduate, and gives organisations access to new perspectives and knowledge. Work, too, needs to be flexibly defined: some of the best learning experiences can be provided through community service. ”

The focus of the event is on sharing effective approaches and identifying ways to create change, with attendees drawn from education providers, government agencies, and industry organisations. The one-day forum will include sessions highlighting examples of existing good practice in New Zealand, and end by identifying what all sectors can do to encourage the spread of high-quality integration.

Ako Aotearoa, New Zealand’s National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, supports educators and organisations across all parts of the tertiary education sector to achieve the best possible outcomes for all learners. Ako Aotearoa identifies, celebrates and shares effective teaching practice, contributing towards this vision through a portfolio of work that includes funding change-focused projects, a nationwide professional development programme, the national Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards, and events that address strategic priorities, improve teaching practice and support high-quality learning outcomes.


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