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More toilet cleaners or more tradespeople?

Jenny Salesa
MP for Manukau East
Skills and Training
Associate Education


28 September 2016

More toilet cleaners or more tradespeople?

The Government is not doing enough to help the construction and trades sector meet its workforce demand, instead steering students towards cleaning toilets, says Labour’s Skills and Training spokesperson Jenny Salesa.

“There were 22,486 construction trades entries compared to 48,960 in hospitality for the top ten unit standards for skills-based subjects based on Level 2 entries in 2015.

“We need highly-qualified and highly-skilled tradespeople, labourers and workers.

“We must take a serious look at the unit standards to see whether they are learning the right sustainable skill-sets that will lead to suitable jobs.

“There’s much talk about upskilling but with cleaning toilets, sorting laundry and emptying street rubbish bins, this isn’t the education upgrade of high achievement or ambition.

“New Zealand is not producing nearly enough tradespeople to meet the 32,000 projected increase in construction and infrastructure jobs required in Auckland alone by 2018. And this spike in demand is coming off the back of a drop in employee numbers in the Auckland construction sector, which bore the brunt of sharp workforce decline after the National Government came to office in 2008.

“Our education system is crucial not just in ensuring people learn what they need to do but also in ensuring they “learn to learn”, giving New Zealand a confident, flexible workforce while providing our people with secure, fulfilling futures.

“The NCEA standards about cleaning toilets make a mockery of the students and the education system.

“Teachers need and deserve better support and strategic guidance from this Government. Rather than throwing money at charter schools, the government should focus on leadership and connecting education, jobs and equipping our young people for the future,” says Jenny Salesa


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