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A Message from Jane Wenman, Careerforce Chief Executive

Reform of Vocational Education – Proposal for Consultation
I’m sure most of you will be aware of the proposal that has been released for consultation and which has drawn significant media coverage. In short, the proposal makes three recommendations:

1/ Redefining the roles of education providers and Industry Training Organisations (ITOs), and creating new Industry Skills Bodies
2/ Merging the 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) into one Institute of Skills & Technology (IST)
3/ Creating a unified vocational education funding system

You can read more about the proposal here.

What does this mean for employers and trainees?
For Careerforce it remains business as usual.

We make an absolute commitment to you that existing and new trainees will not be adversely affected. All current or new trainees will be able to complete their training programmes and have their qualifications awarded.

Should the proposal proceed as outlined, current ITO trainees (over 140,000) will be transitioned across to the new single IST entity (who presently have 110,000 learners). As I am sure you will appreciate, the amalgamation of the 16 current ITP’s into the one IST will not be an easy task and will require considerable time and effort. I have received assurance from senior Ministry of Education officials that this is a process of not months, but years. There is no evidence that any work has been undertaken on transition timeframes as yet.

Careerforce concerns
It is clearly evident that reforms are required across the struggling ITP sector given the sizeable bailouts ($100m) over the last year, and there are opportunities for ITPs and ITOs to work together more collaboratively.

As the industry training organisation with specific responsibility for the health & wellbeing sectors, we are intimately aware of the issues your organisations face, and the associated workforce development challenges. Accordingly, we do feel we have a responsibility to make you aware of the changes proposed and for you to then consider what the potential implications are for your organisation. Your workforces touch on some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable New Zealanders, and many of these sectors are at crisis points, with workforce development challenges that cannot be put on hold.

Given the growth we have been experiencing as an ITO, and the well-publicised woes faced by many ITP’s, the proposed recommendations have come to us as a complete surprise, and we do have significant concerns. While we are still interpreting the recommendations, our initial concerns are:

1/ the lack of ITO and employer consultation, leading up to this consultation
2/ that the proposal does not reflect the fundamental differences of "on-the-job" industry training and trainees relative to institutional based learning and learners
3/ the likely loss of [health & wellbeing] sectoral voice within a mega-institute
4/ potential cost impacts upon employers
5/ risks for significant disruption during a transition, at a time when many of our sectors are facing sizeable workforce shortages

We will continue to review the documents that have been made available to better understand the likely impacts upon employers and trainees, and we commit to updating you regularly.

Have your say.
This is a 6 week consultation, with submissions closing Wednesday 27 March, 2019.

On behalf of the sectors we have responsibility for, we will be making a strong submission to the consultation.

We encourage you to digest the material which has been made available, and to assess the potential implications for your organisation. We also encourage you to have your say, which would be best made directly via submitting to the public consultation email.

I will be out and about over the next few weeks with my management team speaking with our sector stakeholders and employers, to further communicate the changes proposed, and to discuss potential implications. If you would like someone to visit your organisation, please let me know by emailing me direct.

Kind regards

Jane Wenman
Chief Executive


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