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Government to review industry training arrangement

27 September 2000 Media Statement

Government to review industry training arrangements

Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey today released the terms of reference for a comprehensive review of New Zealand's industry training arrangements to be carried out over the coming year.

Sixty-three thousand workers have undertaken subsidised industry training since the passage of the 1992 Industry Training Act. It is now past time to review the success of the Act to ensure that it contributes to the Government's New Zealand-wide strategy to improve and enhance the nation's skills. Particular issues which need examining include uneven training coverage across some industries, the capacity and number of training providers and funding arrangements to support industry training.

The terms of reference for the review have been developed by the Ministry of Education and the Department of Labour in consultation with ITO, employer and employee groups. A discussion document, to be issued in early 2001, will seek the views of the wider industry training sector.

"The Government has committed itself to amending and strengthening the 1992 Industry Training Act to build on its success and ensure an effective partnership is maintained between government, industry, providers, workers, worker representatives and educators.

"It is vital that stakeholders in industry as well as stakeholders in the tertiary education system combine to support a New Zealand-wide strategy to improve and enhance the nation's skills.

"The review has the objective of ensuring that New Zealand’s industry training strategy:
 enables industry across the entire economy to meet the challenges of rising demand for skills and the increasing speed of change in skill needs;
 contributes to higher productivity, improved international competitiveness and higher incomes;
 provides equity of access to industry training; and,
 contributes to closing the education and employment gaps for Mäori and Pacific people.

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"It is also important that the industry training review dovetails with work already underway to reshape our tertiary education system, through the work of the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission, industry and regional development policies, our Closing the Gaps strategy and the work of the Science and Innovation Advisory Council.

"The review will not revisit every element of the Industry Training sector. Stakeholders generally feel that the Industry Training Strategy has worked well but that there are some key obstacles to having a fully effective system of industry training which should be addressed.

"Industry training benefits all who are involved – the Government, the employer, and the employee. The Government is inviting active partnership from all stakeholders so that we can ensure that the industry training arrangements are as flexible, seamless and efficient as possible," Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

Review of Industry Training
Terms of Reference

September 2000
Context

The skills of the workforce make a key contribution to New Zealand’s economic growth and to New Zealander’s incomes, employment opportunities and social well-being. In a rapidly changing economic environment characterised by an acceleration in the rate of technological change and globalisation of trade and labour markets, an effective industry training strategy is central to providing the means for individuals to obtain the skills needed by industry.

The 1992 Industry Training Act established a new era for industry training in New Zealand. The Act, and the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), represented a shift from government management of training, to industry-led training arrangements, and from a time-served training model to one based on competency. Both these developments were seen as critical to meeting the needs for higher skill levels and more flexible skills in an open economy.

The principal objectives of these new policies were to:

 have industry itself take the lead in designing, managing and delivering training;
 to develop a training culture in which ongoing training was seen as an integral part of working life and an essential characteristic of every successful business
 to retain and build on the best features of the traditional training systems;
 increase the quality, relevance and overall amount of industry and industry-related training;
 extend systematic, quality training to industries and occupations which had not previously had any formal training;
 ensure all government supported industry level training was linked to a national, standards-based qualifications system so that qualifications were portable, comparable and easily understood;
 ensure training was accessible to everyone who needed it, especially to groups who had been underrepresented in previous training programmes; and,
 allow for a diversity of types and methods of training with (usually) more than one way of obtaining a particular qualification or set of skills.

Since then the industry training strategy has become well-established in many industries, but is still quite new in others. The NQF and Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) are an integral part of the training scene for much of the New Zealand workforce. Between 1992 and 2000, the numbers of workers receiving subsidised industry training increased nearly fourfold to over 63,000. It has been estimated that ITO training comprises around a quarter of all job-related training.

While there is, therefore, clear evidence of success, a number of issues can also be identified. These include the uneven coverage of ITOs and of training, the under-representation of women in industry training, the capacity of some ITOs and some providers, the relationship with other parts of the tertiary sector, firms needing to relate to multiple ITOs and the design of the funding formulae. Growth in the demand for training also creates its own pressures.

Objective of the review

The objective of the review is to improve the effectiveness of New Zealand’s industry training strategy to ensure that it:

 enables industry across the entire economy to meet the challenges of rising demand for skills and the increasing speed of change in skill needs;
 contributes to higher productivity, improved international competitiveness and higher incomes;
 provides equity of access to industry training; and,
 contributes to closing the education and employment gaps for Mäori and Pacific people.

Scope

In order to meet the above objectives, the review will include consideration of:
 how well the industry training strategy has met the needs of industry and employees;
 what adaptations to existing policies are needed to improve the effectiveness of the strategy in light of the current and likely future environment;
 how industry training can better assist in addressing workplace literacy and numeracy needs;
 funding, accountability and administrative arrangements and the appropriate roles and responsibilities of government, industry, education and training providers and trainees;
 issues relating to the operation of the National Qualifications Framework as it relates to industry training; and,
 information systems and research needs.

Interface issues

The review work programme will be co-ordinated with other relevant workstreams, to avoid duplication of effort or inconsistent policy development.
In particular, it will be important to take account of:

 the work of the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission. TEAC’s primary role, over a longer timeframe, is to advise Government on the strategic direction for tertiary education. Officials conducting the Industry Training review will consult closely with TEAC to ensure that they understand TEAC’s vision for the wider sector and to exchange views on the place of industry training within it;
 the linkages between government industry training policies and related education and labour market policies;
 Government’s Closing the Gaps initiatives; and,
 other relevant policy initiatives including, for example industry and regional development policies, and the work of the Science and Innovation Advisory Council.

Accountability

The review is to be conducted jointly by officials from the Ministry of Education and the Department of Labour, reporting to the Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education). Skill New Zealand and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority will contribute to the work of the review. Other agencies will also be consulted as appropriate.

Deliverables

A paper analysing issues and identifying options for improvement is to be submitted to the Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education) for consideration by Cabinet by December 2000. This report shall also address the need for short-term changes, the form and timing of public consultation and the timetable for the implementation of possible medium-term changes following consultation. After consideration by Cabinet, it is expected that a consultation document will be released, to provide a formal opportunity for public comment. A further paper will be submitted to the Minister for Cabinet consideration by April 2001, following the consultation process.

Consultation

Extensive stakeholder input is critical to the success of the review. Officials will exchange information and discuss ideas with key stakeholders as the Review proceeds. These stakeholders include representatives of employers, employees, industry training organisations, training providers, Mäori and Pacific peoples.

Prior to the initial paper being considered by Cabinet, a meeting of stakeholders will be held to consider the issues and, in particular, any short-term implications.

Wider consultation will occur through a public consultation document.

ENDS

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