The Government’s Aotearoa New Zealand Skills Pledge is a strong signal from Government on recognising the importance of upskilling, reskilling and increasing productivity alongside the Government’s commitment to address the challenges around the future of work, says Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Leeann Watson.
Launched by the PM’s Business Advisory Council, the initiative commits organisations that sign up to doubling investment in employee re-skilling and training hours by 2025, and to report annually on that investment.
“As an employers’ chamber which provided over 280 training courses to over 3,880 people last year (2018), we know the immense value that training and re-skilling brings to those businesses that invest in their people,” says Ms Watson.
“Investment in training offers one of the highest returns on outlay of any kind of investment, including increased productivity and profitability, as well as staff engagement and retention.
“As employment costs increase – for example minimum wage and additional employment legislation requirements – we are starting to see more businesses look to automation as a cost-saving and efficiency measure.
“While this does have the ability to increase productivity and reduce overall labour costs, it also means that re-training and helping to support people in work and re-deployment, is now more important than ever. This Pledge will help to encourage businesses to either start or accelerate these conversations and commitments.”
Ms Watson says that as well as re-skilling our current workforce, it is also vitally important that the education sector is geared up and aligned with the changing nature of work.
“All employees that will contribute to our future workforce must have strong literacy, language and numeracy skills and increasingly need skills of communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and being digitally savvy. To ensure we have a fit-for-purpose workforce, we also need to provide young people with 21st century skills to ensure they are work-ready.”
Ms Watson says in order to be productive, businesses also need a supportive business environment with policy that supports and enables business growth and development.
“This is an area in which we continue to work with Government to help shape a productive workforce for the future.”
Source: Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce