New Zealand’s Education Minister, Chris Hipkins recently released wide-ranging proposals to strengthen vocational education so school-leavers can get higher quality training opportunities, while employers get the skills they need. BICSI members, as industry stakeholders, are encouraged to download the consultation documents and comment the proposed changes via online survey, written submissions, or verbally at engagement events.
“At a time when we’re facing critical skill shortages, too many of our polytechnics and institutes of technology are going broke,” Hipkins said. “The strong labour market is encouraging young people to move directly into the workforce rather than continue in formal education, when it needs to be smarter and accommodate both. And our system isn’t geared up for the future economy, where re-training and up-skilling will be a regular feature of everyone’s working life.
“Instead of our institutes of technology retrenching, cutting programs and closing campuses, we need them to expand their course delivery in more locations around the country. The Government proposes establishing a unified, coordinated, national system of vocational education and training that includes:
- Redefined roles for education providers and industry bodies (Industry Training Organisations (ITOs)) to extend the leadership role of industry and employers;
- Bringing together the 16 existing ITPs as a one entity with the working title of the New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology with a robust regional network of provision; and
- A unified vocational education funding system.
“We would also ensure there’s strong regional influence in the New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology through the proposed formation of Regional Leadership Groups which would identify the needs of the local economy and become a key link between local government, employers, iwi and communities,” continued Hipkins. “The development of courses and programs would be consolidated, improving consistency and freeing up resources to expand front-line delivery. There will be more sharing of expertise and best-practice, and more use of online, distance and blended learning.
“The Government envisages that the New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology, and perhaps also wānanga, host Centres of Vocational Excellence to cover key sectors and industries.
“The proposals may go ahead in this or another form, but the Government won’t make any decisions until we have heard and carefully considered feedback from this consultation process.”
The consultation documentation can be downloaded from here. Public consultation closes 27 March 2019.