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Workforce skills target lifted

author:NZ Government

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says better-than-expected Better Public Services results mean the Government is revising the workforce skills target to 60 per cent of 25–34 year olds having a qualification at Level 4 or above by 2018.

“The 2014 end-year results show that the hard work we are all doing to upskill New Zealanders is paying off.”

In 2012, the Government set a target to boost workforce skills to support New Zealand’s economic growth, meet the needs of industry and to increase productivity. This target was set at 55 per cent of 25–34 year olds having a qualification at Level 4 or above in 2017.

In the year to December 2014, the percentage of 25–34 year olds with a Level 4 or higher qualification was 54.9 per cent. This was up from 53.8 per cent in 2013 and 52.6 per cent in 2012.

Mr Joyce says increasing the target shows that the tertiary education system has made good progress in boosting workforce skills since 2012.

“It is important that we keep increasing the level of skills in our workforce to support New Zealand’s economic growth. We know that a higher skilled workforce supports better innovation and productivity, and we are investing in that.

“In partnership with Industry Training Organisations and employers the Government has improved the industry training system. In 2014, with the introduction of New Zealand Apprenticeships and with the help of the Apprenticeship Reboot tools and off-job course costs, industry training enrolments at Level 4, including in New Zealand Apprenticeships, were up significantly on 2012."

Increased opportunities within trades through the expansion of Māori and Pasifika Trades Training, from 600 places in 2013 to 1,800 in 2014 is also contributing, and this will continue to expand over 2015-2019.

Performance requirements for universities, polytechnics, wānanga, and private training establishments have improved their course and qualification completion rates as well as student retention rates.

“Making the study and employment outcomes of careers more accessible to students, such as through the Occupation Outlook App, links their education choices to the world of work.” says Mr Joyce. “This helps students make better study and career choices, and shows the benefits of higher level study.

“The new target of getting to 60 per cent by 2018 will be very challenging. Government agencies will need to work together with all players in the sector and employers to deliver on this goal.”

The Better Public Service Results February 2015 update can be found

19 February 2015 NZ Government 2012