Research affirms training benefits

The fact that sound training programmes can accrue benefits to the industry and the economy has once again been proved by new research.

The Industry Training Federation (ITF) commissioned the Business and Economic Research Company Limited (BERL) to study the impact of skilled workers on the economic costs and the long-term effects on the country’s commercial and industrial sectors.

ITF chief executive Mark Oldershaw said New Zealand’s industry training system demonstrated a unique partnership between Government, employers, workers and industry.

“All share the benefits, and all contribute to making it work. New research indicates how great those benefits are to the country’s GDP, particularly through the impact on the export sector,” he said.

The Research showed that if government investment in industry training were removed, the long-term impact on GDP would be more than $7 billion a year. Given that the government’s industry training fund is currently $156 million, the return on investment is significant, he said.

“The research also confirmed the importance of investment in training at all levels of the workforce. Training for those at the lower end of the skills spectrum makes a huge difference to driving the productivity of a workplace.

“It also sets those workers on a pathway to further skill and development. In a society that pushes for high levels of skills and development, these Research shows that it is essential not to overlook the need to also invest in skills and workforce development at all levels,” Mr Oldershaw said.

ITF would use the findings of the Research to inform the government’s review of industry training, due to be completed this year.

“While forming the new Government after the general election, Prime Minister John Key signalled he was keen to ensure greater linkages between education, skills, jobs and growth. The industry training sector is well positioned to support this ambition,” Mr Oldershaw said.

ITF is a member organisation of Industry Training Organisations (ITOs).

The Federation’s website said about 180,000 workers were involved in Industry Training at more than 35,000 workplaces.

“It is a system unique to our country that allows for a formal process to increase and develop skills in the workplace which is linked to our national qualifications system. The New Zealand government supports with funding through the Tertiary Education system and the industry contribution comes through a mixture of cash and in-kind support,” it said.

ITOs arrange the training, set the standards for qualifications and work with industry to determine skill development needs.

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