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Skill NZ to be expanded under Labour

Labour
2000 web siteSkill New Zealand will be expanded and given the task of ensuring New Zealand builds the most skilled workforce in the world says Labour employment and associate education spokesperson Steve Maharey today.

Labour's industry training policy was released this morning at Wellington Manufacturing Engineers A&E Tilley Ltd.

"It is becoming clear even to the National Party that the future of our economy can not be left to market forces. Skill NZ will be asked to set out a strategy which will build the kinds of skills a knowledge economy needs and then make sure the appropriate training takes place.

"This strategy will include making work-based training a prestigious and attractive pathway into industry for many more New Zealanders.

"The current government has completely failed this area of education. Recent reviews of the tertiary sector have not even mentioned industry skills training. The failure to deliver the White Paper on Qualifications has put the Qualifications Framework at risk. If the framework falls over and takes unit standards with it then industry training is likely to
collapse altogether.

"Many polytechnics have already either pulled out or reduced their commitment to industry training because funding is insecure and the future is unsure.

Key features of Labour's policy include:

expanding the Careers Service into a Learning and Careers Service which will provide advice to schools, job seekers and employers;

promotion of school-business partnership programmes to bring the worlds of work and education closer together;

expanding the role of STAR so that more students can get opportunities to take non-traditional subjects and learning that will link them directly to further education;

establish a Gateway programme which will provide young New Zealanders with the opportunity to experience a variety of workplaces while still at school;

a Modern Apprenticeship Programme which will see more people gaining national qualifications through workbased training;

clear links between the Training Opportunities Programme and the needs of the labour market;

opportunities for young people between the ages of 16 and 25 to take part in a citizen's service programme which will increase their skills while they undertake work of direct use to the community

amendments to the Industry Training Act designed to reduce the number of Industry Training Organisations, ensure employers have a strategy to train and allow for a levy to be raised if this is wanted by industry.

"Labour's policies spell the end of the voluntary approach to the vital area of industry skills training. Through a partnership with industry Labour will ensure New Zealanders have a pathway into a more skilled and productive future," Steve Maharey said.

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