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National will strengthen skills training

Hon Steven Joyce
National Party
Spokesman for Tertiary Education

21 November 2011 Media Statement
National will strengthen skills training

A re-elected National Government will further strengthen the industry training sector so it can do a much better job for employers and trainees, says National’s Tertiary Education spokesman Steven Joyce.

“National will encourage a complete rationalisation of the industry training sector, to simplify the system and ensure all ITOs across all industries can deliver a quality system of training for trainees and employers.

“We currently have 33 separate Industry Training Organisations in New Zealand, even after a first round of ITO mergers. In Australia they have a total of 11 National Skills Councils. We will encourage further simplification of the system so it continues to improve on the results it delivers.

Mr Joyce says National will also act to remove the structural conflicts in the current system between on-job and off-job training providers, and invest further in industry training as demand grows again, following the recession.

“We inherited a system full of phantom trainees, with more than half the people listed as being in training achieving no credits at all in either 2008 or 2009, and lots of short courses that did not provide workers with transferable skills. We’re now part-way through a big tidy-up and we will work with the sector to ensure we grow a much stronger, more results-focused system that can really contribute to up-skilling New Zealand workers.

Mr Joyce says National’s Skills Plan will comprehensively address the skills issues New Zealand faces as it gets onto a stronger growth path. It will:

• Simplify Vocational Pathways across the training sector, including for trades-focused students at secondary school
• Build a stronger, more unified system of on-job and off-job training providers
• Provide a big push to improve workplace literacy and numeracy
• Provide more training options for young New Zealanders at risk of dropping out of the system altogether, with Youth Guarantee, Trades Academies and Service Academies
• Provide strong incentives for employers to employ and train young people on benefits
• Introduce a new ‘starting-out’ wage to provide an incentive for employers to take a chance on a new young employee.

“National is committed to working with employees and workers to build a skills system that will help lift New Zealand’s skills base and improve our productivity across the economy,” says Mr Joyce.

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