2014 will start with a much simpler vocational training system that is easy to navigate for employers, trainees and educators, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says.
“Four years ago we had a highly complicated vocational training system in New Zealand with a total of 39 separate industry training organisations and more than 4500 separate qualifications”, Mr Joyce says.
“ITOs were falling over each other and had signed up many trainees that were trainees in name only. Single employers were in some cases having to deal with a number of ITOs.
“With the latest ITO merger just prior to Christmas, we start this year with only 14 Industry Training Organisations,” Mr Joyce says. “This smaller number of generally larger scale organisations means that they can provide a better service to trainees and employers. There is now, for example, just one ITO for the primary sector – down from seven ITOs three years ago.
The number of qualifications at the vocational level has also been reduced. There were 4610 separate qualifications at Levels 1 to 6 at the beginning of 2011 and this has been reduced by 63 per cent so far to less than 1750 by the end of last year. The current targeted review of qualifications seeks to have the number reduced to around 1300 by the end of this year.
“We had a huge spaghetti of qualifications at sub-degree level in this country,” Mr Joyce says. “It was difficult for learners to decide when and how to study, and difficult for employers to understand the nature and quality of the different qualifications. The targeted review has meant that we have reduced, for example, 213 ICT qualifications to 14, and similarly 69 mechanical engineering qualifications have been reduced to nine.
“One of the great things about the new system is that the same qualification will be able to be studied for in different learning environments so that the learner can move from provider-based training to work-based training as their employment circumstances change.
“Employers will be able to be confident that learners who graduate from different training institutes have been trained in the same qualification. This makes it much easier to understand the skills and competencies they are expected to have.”
My Joyce says that the new vocational pathways in senior secondary schools and in the youth guarantee programmes also provide straightforward signposts for young people wanting to start a vocational career.
“The vocational pathways link well into the ITOs and the new qualification framework,” Mr Joyce says. “Taken together we head into 2014 with now one of the world’s simplest and most straightforward vocational training systems, after starting with one of the most complex four years ago.
“It’s hugely important to have the training system running well, as we are expecting a strong demand for more skills training even over the growth we had last year, as the economy continues to expand.”