The National Government will further strengthen the industry training sector so that it could do a much better job for employers and trainees.
National will encourage complete rationalisation of the industry training sector to simplify the system and ensure that all Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) across all industries deliver a quality system of training for trainees and employers.
We currently have 33 separate ITOs in New Zealand, even after the first round of ITO mergers.
Australia has 11 National Skills Councils.
We will encourage further simplification of the system so that it continues to improve on the results delivered.
National will remove the structural conflicts in the current system between on-job and off-job training providers and invest further in industry training as demand grows again, following the recession.
We inherited a system full of phantom trainees, with more than half the people listed as being in training but achieving no credits at all in either 2008 or 2009, and many short courses that did not provide workers with transferable skills.
We are now part-way through a big tidy-up and we will work with the sector to ensure that we grow a much stronger, more results-focused system that can really contribute to up-skilling New Zealand workers.
National’s Skills Plan will comprehensively address the skills issues New Zealand faces as it gets onto a stronger growth path.
It will simplify Vocational Pathways across the training sector, include trades-focused students at secondary school and build a stronger and more unified system of on-job and off-job training providers.
The new system will provide a big push to improve workplace literacy and numeracy and offer more training options for young New Zealanders at risk of dropping out of the system altogether with Youth Guarantee, Trades Academies and Service Academies.
We will also provide strong incentives for employers to employ and train young people on benefits.
We will introduce a new ‘starting-out’ wage to provide an incentive for employers to take a chance on a new young employee.
National is committed to working with employees and workers to build a skills system that will help lift New Zealand’s skills base and improve our productivity across the economy.
Steven Joyce is Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister in the new National-led Government. The above is a modified version of the National Party statement issued prior to the 2011 General Election.