|NEW ZEALAND'S EDUCATION
The four industry training organisations (ITOs) that provide workplace training across the New Zealand service sector are today releasing a manifesto that sets out a plan of action for meeting a growing demand for skilled workers.
Service industries employ nearly 600,000 full- time equivalents (FTEs) – about one in three, or 29%, of people working in New Zealand – making it the economy’s largest per capita sector.
The four ITOs – ServiceIQ, Careerforce, Skills Active Aotearoa and the hairdressing, barbering and beauty therapy Industry Training Organisation, HITO – have come together as At Your Service Aotearoa.
The group is issuing a manifesto to focus attention on the need for concerted action to address labour constraints and a widening skills gap, in a sector which last year generated $47 billion in GDP.
“We want all political parties in particular to understand the importance of the sector and its growing need for well-qualified workers,” At Your Service Aotearoa spokesman Bruce Robertson says.
“In addition to being a large and important part of the economy, the sector is also a key contributor to our sense of national wellbeing. Every day New Zealanders benefit in numerous ways from service industries, and the demand for those industries’ products and services is rising rapidly.
A recent At Your Service Aotearoa-commissioned report (see www.atyourserviceaotearoa.org.nz ) by Wellington economic consultancy BERL noted that the sector will have 200,000 job openings between now and 2020 as people leave their jobs and new ones are created.
The report provides up-to-date analysis of the sector’s contribution to the economy, its projected growth, workforce training data and potential labour constraints and skills shortages.
Bruce Robertson says the core messages of the manifesto are that At Your Service Aotearoa wants to work with politicians to target those who, without support, may otherwise not enter the workforce, and that the sector offers good career paths and rewarding work.
“We want to turn around misperceptions about service work. One-third of service sector roles are already medium-high to highly skilled.
“The ITOs behind At Your Service Aotearoa understand the growing importance of a well-qualified workforce and they are calling on Government and all other sector stakeholders to join them in making sure that clear development pathways are available,” he says.