Civil Contractors New Zealand made a submission on the legislation governing the Reform of Vocational Education (the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill).
Key points from the CCNZ submission were:
- CCNZ supports the intent of the proposed changes. The vocational education and training system in New Zealand requires major overhaul if it is to be fit for purpose and meet our current and future needs.
- While we support the intent of the proposed reforms of vocational education and training, there is a need for wider reform particularly in our primary and secondary schools which remain academically focused and undervalue the importance of trade and technical skills and qualifications.
- It is critically important that the transition to any new system is well managed to ensure we retain trainees, students and apprentices, as well as the skills and expertise currently held in our polytechnics and ITOs.
- CCNZ welcomes the review’s focus on improving engagement and outcomes for industry and employers. The current system is overly influenced by the needs of training institutions and has largely failed to meet the needs of employers. We are however concerned that the objective of creating a system built on stronger engagement with industry and employers will not be achieved and we have suggested below, several ways employers and industry can be better engaged in the new system.
- As a result of these failures, many employers in the civil construction industry undertake their own training and have invested in facilities and people to provide this training (58 per cent of our employers are delivering 50 per cent or more of their training on the job). Training delivered by employers is a valuable part of people’s education, yet it does not receive adequate recognition in the legislation.
- More recognition, funding and support of on the job or in workplace training is required. The NZIST must support and compliment this training by running short courses covering basic entry level criteria to prepare people to work in an industry then transitioning trainees to employment as soon as possible. Once in employment, on-job and on-site training (complimented by NZIST short off-job training where necessary) will continue. This model will ensure training is relevant to employers and industry.
- Employers currently delivering in-house or on the job training usually have this recognised by an approved assessor and have the qualifications registered on the NZQA framework. The assessor is often someone working within the business. We would like to see this practice supported and encouraged. The appointment and moderation of assessors should be a specific role of either the WDCs or the NZIST.
- The system also needs to be more focused on delivering employment as an outcome of off-job training rather than simply training. This should be the difference between academic education and vocational education. We support the NZIST working to support on the job training, also facilitating a seamless and early transition to employment.
- The legislation is silent on either WDC or NZIST’s role in working with business to develop capability for firms to train. As the primary body working with Trainees and employers, we support NZIST having this role.
- Businesses make significant investment in training their workforce. In many instances, they are ahead of the providers in delivering innovative workplace training solutions, training employees for the jobs people currently hold, while also building a skill base to strengthen their prospects for future jobs. They mostly do this without funding.
- The legislation needs to create stronger formal linkages between WDCs and NZIST including a formal structure that brings all WDCs and the leadership of NZIST together on a regular basis.