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NCEA review positive for lifelong skills

The EMA is pleased to see that the Government’s review of NCEA will address the key issues its members have with the lack of employability and work-readiness skills of school leavers.

It agrees with Education Minister Hon Chris Hipkins that current assessment methods mean students are finishing school with gaps in their skills and knowledge, particularly in literacy and numeracy.

EMA chief executive Brett O’Riley says developments such as artificial intelligence, robotics and automation are rapidly transforming the way we work and higher levels of cognitive skills are essential, along with contextualised learning.

EMA members say students need to have the ability to be critical and reflective, open to lifelong learning and be able to adjust to change. This is supported by global research in this area.

"We need to better support students in the transition from school to work, so schools need to have a better understanding of employers' expectations, and businesses need to provide more access to their workplaces through programmes like work experience and internships," Mr O’Riley says.

The EMA works very closely with COMET Auckland supporting the Youth Employability Passport, which gives secondary school students a greater understanding of this as well as delivering training modules and 80 hours of work experience.

Developing uniformity around internships is another focus for the EMA, which is looking to partner with unions in that process.

"Our small to medium enterprise (SME) members recognise the need to work with schools and will welcome the opportunity to make more of the direct connections the review says are needed.

"This will also help careers advisors at school prepare the two-thirds of school leavers who do not go on to degree-level study for the successful transition into vocational training, work or other further studies," says Mr O’Riley.

He expects employers will have more confidence in the emphasis on exams in future rather than internal assessment, which they find difficult to understand and do not always show a consistent level of competency.

The EMA welcomes the opportunity to be one of the stakeholders the Ministry of Education works with to produce a detailed design and implementation plan by the end of the year.

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