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Education targets to boost skills & employment


Steven Joyce, Hekia Parata

25 June, 2012

Education targets to boost skills & employment

The Government?s Better Public Service targets for education are about giving more New Zealanders the opportunity to succeed, and increasing the skill level of our workforce, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce and Education Minister Hekia Parata say.

The Government has two targets for boosting skills and employment:

  • In 2017, 85 per cent of 18-year-olds will have NCEA Level 2 or an equivalent qualification (up from 67 per cent in 2010).
  • In 2017, 55 per cent of 25-34 year olds will have a qualification at Level 4 or above (up from 52 per cent in 2011).

Ms Parata says at present one in five 15-16 year olds are dropping out of school. An NCEA Level 2 or equivalent qualification would give learners better employment opportunities in the long term.

?Having 85 per cent of 18-year-olds achieving NCEA Level 2 in 2017 is an ambitious target but this Government is determined to see more of our young people reach their employment potential when they leave school,? Ms Parata says.

?That means lifting up those who are being left behind, and encouraging those who are doing well to do even better.?

Mr Joyce says increasing education at the tertiary level will allow New Zealand to develop a more highly skilled workforce that will lead to increased economic growth.

?Achieving a Level 4 or above qualification provides, on average, a significant income premium for a person and a greater likelihood of sustained employment, over those that don?t achieve that level,? Mr Joyce says.

?With demand for highly skilled or degree-qualified people expected to exceed supply by 2018, we need to ensure we have the right people with the right skills to fill these gaps. That?s why we have set a target of 55 per cent of 25-34-year-olds in 2017 having a qualification at Level 4 or above.

?To increase the number of people with advanced trade qualifications, diplomas and degrees, we need to identify further opportunities to increase enrolments within the tertiary sector, to improve quality and completion rates, and to increase performance.

?Given the shape of the demographic curve, this will require 56,250 people to achieve Level 4 qualifications between now and 2017 ? 11,250 more people than we are expecting under policy initiatives to date. This will be a big challenge for government agencies and providers of all types.?

?Having more New Zealanders reach their potential through higher education will improve their quality of life, boost the skill level of the New Zealand workforce, and lift New Zealand?s overall productivity,? the ministers say. 2012