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Skills Active considers Judicial Review

Skills Active considers Judicial Review to extend consultation on vocational reform

Skills Active Aotearoa, the industry training organisation (ITO) for sport, exercise, recreation and performing arts is considering a Judicial Review to force the Minister of Education to extend the consultation process for the Reform of Vocational Education until the end of June.

Chief executive Grant Davidson says Skills Active was not invited to participate in the initial engagement discussions led by the Tertiary Education Commission in late December 2018, and the official six-week consultation period, announced on 13 February, was “ridiculously short” for such a major reform.

“We have written to the Minister to advise him that his failure to include Skills Active in the initial discussions, and his refusal to consider a realistic consultation period for this reform, has left us no choice but to consider this significant legal step,” Dr Davidson says.

“Our Statement of Claim is ready to go but we would much prefer to engage constructively. We hope to get a reasonable response from the Minister before the consultation period concludes on 5 April,” he said.

The Minister has extended the consultation period by one week, following the tragedy in Christchurch.

“We truly believe that the Minister has not been appropriately briefed on the implications of this radical major reform,” Dr Davidson says.

“There are 145,000 New Zealanders receiving vocational training through ITOs – a significantly greater number than are studying at polytechs. The reform document has no detail on how those trainees and apprentices will be catered for under the proposed NZ Institute of Skills and Technology.

“Our ITO is responsible for training over 1,200 ski industry workers every year; we deliver training to thousands of lifeguards throughout New Zealand who keep children safe in swimming pools; we deliver apprenticeships that enable golf clubs to function professionally; and just yesterday we launched the first ever apprenticeship in performing arts – to name just a few of the industries we serve” says Dr Davidson.

“On-the-job training is particularly favoured by Māori and Pasifika students, making up 21% of all vocational learners. At Skills Active, we have achieved parity between Māori and non-Māori completions, which no university or polytech can claim.

“The proposed reform puts all that at risk, by removing a successful industry training system that isn’t broken, and replacing it with a rushed, unproven, centralised model that lacks any evidence of careful and detailed planning.

“We have no choice but to consider a Judicial Review to buy us more time to get an outcome that will work for our students, because the consultation process to date has let them down,” Dr Davidson says.


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