The reform of vocational education will need to be carefully managed to ensure there continues to be a skills pipeline for industry, BusinessNZ chief executive Kirk Hope says.
The changes to vocational training – the creation of a New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, establishment of Workforce Development Councils and a longer term work programme on funding mechanisms – will create significant disruption to the training system at a time when the skills pipeline is already failing to keep up with demand, Mr Hope says.
“We see potential for the new Workforce Development Councils to take a strong leadership role in the skills discussion with industry. They will need to have the appropriate resourcing and tools to be able to ensure that the training system can be more responsive and agile to the changing needs of industry.”
Mr Hope says WDC’s will need to be able to reach into all parts of the education system to ensure pathways into employment and the relevance, timeliness, access and quality of training can be geared towards business and learners.
The key challenge for the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology will be to lift the quality and access of vocational training across New Zealand.
Mr Hope says there is still a lot of work to be done on the change programme.
“Business invests millions of dollars in training their people and will continue to do so. The ability of the WDC’s and the NZIST to build effective relationships and offer value to business and the workforce will inform whether this investment is directed towards these institutions or not,” Mr Hope says.