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RoVE Reform Poses Significant Opportunity To Embed A Cohesive Careers And Employability Programme

The Review of Vocational Education (RoVE) has been a major focus of education for the government in recent years, resulting in the “seven key changes” designed to create ‘a unified vocational education system that is ready for a fast-changing future of skills, learning and work.’ Such a wholesale change provides the perfect opportunity to embed a cohesive national careers and employability programme that incorporates the Vocational Education sector. A strong body of evidence confirms that career guidance prior to, and including, tertiary study delivers an excellent return on investment. Outcomes include higher completion rates of study and greater job satisfaction, and higher productivity and retention within the workforce.

It is imperative people have the opportunity to develop career competencies to make vital decisions around investing time and money into their education. To enable this requires career education and support to be available seamlessly across all education facilities, from schooling to tertiary providers and beyond. Additionally, knowledge of workforce demand and the realities of the local job market are important when making career decisions around work and training, and they cannot be made in a vacuum. Career professionals are experts in local labour market information, and trained to help clients make good decisions informed by their own interests, strengths, values and cultural context. This person-centred approach is essential for sustainable outcomes.

A recent publication by the OECD, the International Labour Organisation, UNESCO, and a range of other international bodies, concluded that career guidance ‘acts as a lubricant for developing and nurturing human talent to power innovation, creativity and competitiveness’ and that ‘the majority of high quality evaluations of career guidance activities show evidence of positive economic, educational and social outcomes’.

The Career Development Association of New Zealand (CDANZ) is deeply concerned about the systematic dismantling of the careers infrastructure in New Zealand over the past decade, and advocates strongly for the development of a new National Strategy for Careers and Employability as a catalyst and blueprint for the rebuilding of this essential service. A cohesive careers service within the RoVE sector would be a timely and logical step.

CDANZ recommends:

· Careers professionals are recruited to join Workforce Development Councils, Te Taumata Aronui and Regional Skills Leadership groups. They would offer a lens of career theory and practice that is vital in achieving quality outcomes for individuals and employers.

· Employment of career professionals to design and implement a consistent careers and employability service throughout the NZ Institute of Skills & Technology. Careers provision in polytechnics has been variable in quality and often under-resourced. This is an opportunity to get it right and benefit from an economy of scale.

· Roles for career professionals to deliver the careers and employability services at NZIST campuses across New Zealand, working directly with students, training providers, Workforce Development Councils, Te Taumata Aronui, and their local Regional Skills Leadership groups.

Originally designed to meet workforce needs in target sectors, the Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF) is now also a major strategy in the Covid-19 recovery plan to assist people back into work. This kind of initiative should be supported by a careers and employability service within the ROVE sector. It is just one of many programmes that would benefit from this approach.

Further reading:

CDANZ submission to the Reform of Vocational Education Proposal, submitted to the Ministry of Education 4/4/2019

Other recent media releases and submissions by CDANZ

Career England, Careers Development Policy Group, An emergency career development plan to maintain employment, productivity and progression post-Covid-19

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