New powerhouse of primary sector vocational education

New powerhouse of primary sector vocational education to be set up
The primary sector has been named the first centre of excellence for vocational education, to drive innovation and strengthen links between education providers and industry, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.

The centre will be a prototype and is part of the wider reform of vocational education announced this month to address the mismatch between training provided and the needs of employers.

It is a response to a serious skills shortage across the sector and the technological changes happening across the primary industries. The centre will be positioned at the forefront of research and lead technological innovations in the primary industries.

“Establishing a Primary Sector Centre of Vocational Excellence is another sign of the Coalition Government’s commitment to the primary sector and to raising the status of vocational education.” Chris Hipkins said.

“For too long, vocational education has been starved of attention and resources and yet we know there are huge skills shortages and great, skilled jobs to be had in the strategically important primary industry. National dropped the ball, but we are changing that.

“The centre will be formed of a consortium that includes education and industry experts and researchers, and will drive innovation and excellence in vocational teaching and learning within the primary sector. It will be hosted by a regional campus of the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, or by a wānanga.”

Functions for the centre could include:
• Sharing high-quality curriculum and programme design
• Sharing applied research with employers and providers
• Sharing learning technologies with providers of vocational education to minimise cost and duplication
• Providing training support for employers
• Strengthening pathways into vocational education, including from school
• Other functions as deemed necessary by the centre.

“I plan to seek proposals before the end of the year to establish where in the vocational educational national network the centre would be located and what functions it will include,’” Chris Hipkins said.

“The Government expects to work with the primary sector’s Skills Leaders Working Group and other industry leaders, to move quickly to form proposals for the centre. The sector has signalled a strong need to rebuild and reshape its training institutions following a decline in recent years.”

Cabinet has agreed funding of $18 million over four years to establish three prototype centres.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said he’s delighted to see that the first prototype will be for the primary industries.

“I’m also pleased to see that industry representatives, including the Skills Leaders Working Group, will be working with government on the proposals for the pilot.

“I see the centre as a great opportunity to make a difference to the quality of teaching and learning, and ensure that people working in the primary industries have the skills they need now and in the future.”

Chris Hipkins said centres of vocational excellence for other areas of specialist expertise are being considered, and will be announced shortly.



New Zealand First celebrates success of Mana in Mahi

NZ First Party

Clayton Mitchell, Employment Spokesperson

New Zealand First has welcomed today’s announcement, that Mana in Mahi – Strength in Work, will begin its second phase.

“Phase one has gone even better than we expected. It has seen 247 people placed into Mana in Mahi roles, exceeding the targeted number by almost 100,” says New Zealand First Employment Spokesperson Clayton Mitchell.

“Phase two will extend the number of places available up to 2,000, thanks for a $49.9 million boost. It will focus on apprenticeships and an industry training pathway to provide opportunities for young people, including a wage subsidy of $9,580 (GST exclusive) to employers who commit to hiring a young person, and provide them with full-time work.

“Phase two will also improve on what was developed in the phase one, including part time employees in the scheme, making the process for employers easier, and reducing the administrative procedures of being involved.

“New Zealand First has consistently campaigned to provide wage subsidies for small businesses that take on apprentices, job seekers or to provide work experience. We want to provide incentives to employers, so that as many young people as possible can start the pathway to a meaningful career,” says Mr Mitchell.

/Public Release. View in full here.

More than half happy with single body of polytechnics/institutes

Just over half of the respondents in this week’s Herald webpoll agree with the creation of one national body of polytechnics and institutes of technology, meaning EIT becomes one of 16 “subsidiary” institutions.

Of the 344 voters, 56 percent (191) voted “yes”, 39 percent (133) “no” and 5 percent (20) “don’t know”.

Among the “yes” commenters, one said having a single qualification developer and academic quality management system was the key improvement as opposed to having 16 information and finance systems.

“New Zealand is too small to have so many polytechnics and that’s why so many current polytechnics are in trouble and are not world-leading educators.”

“Adds value to the degrees/diplomas when it’s a national standard,” another “yes” voter wrote.

Another said: “It is a great shame that EIT is not as forward-thinking and professional as SIT (Southern Institute of Technology), which is the only polytech deserving of operating individually.”

“Too much distribution of power” and “the sooner the better” were also comments among those who voted “yes”.

In the “no” camp, a commenter wrote smaller regions lose their autonomy. “Decisions are made based on national data, not regional. The issues here in Tairawhiti are not the same as in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch. Risk is funding will go to bums on seats not innovative thinking relevant to the communities the institutes are in.”

Another suggested they go back to how it was when it worked, before it was privatised.

“When block courses were required. When you learned your trade. Not now where you get Brownie points for attendance.”

A few commented “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

Another “no” voter wrote:“Gisborne is quite capable of organising and running its institute of technology to provide what is required for this district.”


A new dawn for work skills and training

Hon Chris Hipkins
Minister of Education 

1 August, 2019 MEDIA STATEMENT

The Government is tackling the long-term challenges of skills shortages and the mismatch between training provided and the needs of employers, by comprehensively reforming vocational education, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.

“A strong, unified, and sustainable system for vocational education and training will provide opportunities to improve the skills of all New Zealanders, no matter where they are in their education or career and will support a growing economy that works for everyone,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Vocational education, trades training and on-the-job training have been allowed to drift for too long. These are long-term challenges that this government is committed to fixing.

“The comprehensive changes we are making will address the widespread skills shortages across most industry sectors. These shortages highlight the limitations of the current vocational educational system.”

Why we are making these changes

“Repeated forecasts show that one third of all jobs in New Zealand are likely to be significantly affected by automation, and by as early as 2022 more than half of all employees will require significant upskilling and retraining.
“As lower-skilled jobs disappear we need our people to learn new skills, often while on the job, earning while they are learning. Furthermore, advances in automation and artificial intelligence mean it won’t just be lower-skilled workers affected.

“We also know the regions are increasingly struggling to find enough skilled people to keep their economies strong. Too many Māori, Pacific and disabled learners are being left behind to achieve at a lower level because the system just won’t respond to their needs.

“New Zealand needs to lift productivity and for that to happen we need more companies to be involved in training and taking on more apprentices.

“Currently however, nearly nine out of 10 of our businesses are not training through industry training. Yet at the same time, 71% of employers surveyed say there is, or will soon be, a skills shortage in their industry area.

“No one thinks the status quo works well for New Zealanders. Except National, which tinkered around the edges and stood back while polytechnics struggled, the number of people in training dropped and skills shortages worsened. This Government was forced to step in and bail several polytechnics out with $100 million, and we know without significant change, things will keep getting worse.
“The plain truth is that while there are some bright spots, the current system is not set up to produce skilled people at the scale we need,” Chris Hipkins said.

The changes

“The changes we are making will give industry greater control over all aspects of vocational education and training, making the system more responsive to employers’ needs and to the changing world of work.

“Industry and employers will identify skills needs, set standards and approve qualifications and credentials, and influence funding decisions.
“The changes will also ensure we do better for learners who haven’t been well-served by the present system.

“We need to make sure that trades and vocational education are recognised and valued. There are great, well-paid jobs available for people with the right skills. We just aren’t meeting the skills needs at the moment.

“We want everyone to have the opportunity to develop the skills they need to thrive in the workforce and earn a good living. People should always have relevant, up-to-date skills that employers need.

“We want to see more work place learning, more apprentices and more opportunities for people to earn while they learn.”

The seven key changes announced are:

• Around four to seven industry-governed Workforce Development Councils will be created by 2022. This will give industry greater control over all aspects of vocational education and make the system more responsive to employers’ needs and to the changing world of work. The councils will replace and expand most of the existing roles of industry training organisations.

• The country’s 16 institutes of technology and polytechnics will be brought together to operate as a single national campus network. A new Institute will start on 1 April 2020 and will be a new kind of organisation that provides on-the-job and off-the-job learning. The head office will not be in Auckland or Wellington, and a charter will be set out in legislation to make sure a number of bottom lines are met.

• New Regional Skills Leadership Groups will represent regional interests and will work across education, immigration and welfare systems in each region to identify local skill needs and make sure the system is delivering the right mix of education and training to meet them.

• Over the next two to three years, the role of supporting workplace learning will shift from industry training organisations to training providers. Holding organisations will be formed from Industry Training Organisations to smooth the transition

• Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) will be established at regional campuses to drive innovation and expertise, and improve linkages between education, industry and research.

• Māori will be included as key partners, including through Te Taumata Aronui, a Māori Crown Tertiary Education Group – that will work with education agencies and Ministers and cover all aspects of tertiary education. This recognises the needs of Māori learners and that Māori are significant employers with social and economic goals, with an estimated national Māori asset base valued at over $50 billion.

• The dual funding system will be unified and simplified to encourage greater integration of on-the-job and off-the-job learning, ensure learners can access more work-relevant and tailored support, and enable new models of education delivery which are more responsive to employer and industry demand.

The transition process

“We have given a great deal of thought to how to minimise disruption, and listened carefully to the concerns of employers, staff and students,” Chris Hipkins said.

“We are not going to rush the implementation of the changes. To ensure continuity for learners and employers and to allow time to build new capacity, the transition will take three to four years to get fully underway.”
“Learners should enrol in the education provider of their choice as they normally would in 2019 and 2020, including in multi-year programmes, and I encourage people in the workplace to keep training and employers to encourage more workers to sign up.”

Relevant links:
– Cab paper and proactive release documents are here.
– Copies of an overview and a detailed change summary document, along with a summary of submissions and FAQs, is available here.



Christchurch hosts national polytechnic Establishment Board

Christchurch to host national polytechnic Establishment Board

The government is showing confidence in Christchurch with its announcement to locate the Establishment Board for the new national polytechnic in the city.

Over the next two to three years, the vocational education and training industry will see New Zealand’s 16 institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs) brought together to operate as a single national campus network.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced the Establishment Board will ensure the new Institute is operational and effective from day one, working from their base in Christchurch.

ChristchurchNZ CEO Joanna Norris said the location of the Establishment Board in the city could be a game changer. “This has the potential to further stimulate the already strong innovation and education offering in the city and the rest of New Zealand,” said Norris.

Earlier this year, as part of its submission on the proposed industry changes ChristchurchNZ advocated for the head office to be located in the city.

The proposal cited a new central city offering, affordable expansion opportunities, a proven and leading provider with Ara Institute of Canterbury already located in the city, as selling points for the head office location.

“Christchurch is an affordable and desirable place to live. We’ve got unrivaled access to the mountains and the sea, growing hospitality and recreational attractions and excellent domestic and international air connections.

“We look forward to supporting the Board to achieve the potential of the new model,” said Norris. Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said that the announcement was a vote of confidence in the city. “We are very proud of the role the Ara Institute of Canterbury plays within the city’s innovation ecosystem. It’s co-location with the Innovation Precinct makes the central city a perfect location for the Establishment Board to be based,” said Dalziel.


Autonomy key for NorthTec in new national merger of polytechnics

NorthTec acting chief executive Wayne Jackson says regional autonomy and decision making were key to a successful merger of polytechnics. Photo / John Stone

NorthTec acting chief executive Wayne Jackson says regional autonomy and decision making were key to a successful merger of polytechnics. Photo / John Stone

NorthTec will support the creation of a national polytechnic as long as there is sufficient regional autonomy and decision making to meet the needs of Northland learners, its chief executive says.

Wayne Jackson’s comments followed an announcement this week that the Government was spending $200m to overhaul vocational education by creating the single biggest tertiary institution in the country— a national polytechnic with more than 130,000 students.

The New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology will created in April next year by making the existing 16 polytechnics and institutes of technology, including NorthTec, into subsidiaries of a national institute.

The institute will take over responsibility for on-the-job training, including apprenticeships, from industry training organisations over the next two to three years.

The 11 industry training organisations will be replaced by Workforce Development Councils with powers to veto vocational courses that don’t meet industry requirements.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the changes were needed because too many polytechnics were making deficits, too few people were in training, and vocational education was too complex.

Jackson said NorthTec supported three major proposals by the Government.

They were the creation of a single Institute of Skills and Technology for New Zealand, flowing together of the apprenticeship and polytechnic training models, and a change to the funding system to allow better learner support.

“We supported all three proposals as long as there was sufficient regional autonomy and decision making to allow both the selection of educational programmes and the way in which they are delivered, to meet the needs of Northland learners.

“For NorthTec, it is very much ‘business as usual’. We will continue to enrol and deliver programmes with confidence that our regional role will grow over future years. We will study the detail of the announcements further over the next few days”


Vocational reform threatens Māori education taonga

Vocational reform threatens Māori education taonga: Treaty of Waitangi claim

A contemporary Treaty of Waitangi claim filed on Thursday is further evidence of growing opposition to the government’s proposed Reform of Vocational Education, according to Skills Active Board member Des Ratima, who lodged the claim at the Waitangi Tribunal in Wellington.

The claim alleges that the rushed and inadequate consultation process for vocational reform has breached the Treaty, and was filed on behalf of Ratima himself and Skills Active’s 50% Māori shareholding. The claim also asserts that the inadequate consultation period and lack of engagement with the claimants has undermined the exercise of their mana and Tino Rangatiratanga over vocational education.

“Our claim asserts that the government has failed to recognise and provide for Māori taonga, namely vocational education; and failed to honour the principle of partnership under the Treaty,” says Mr Ratima, who last year was made an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit for his services to Māori over many decades.

“Each year, 22,500 Māori take part in industry training and reap the benefits of the ITO system,” Mr Ratima says.

“As kaumatua, we have a responsibility and a mandate to protect the interests of our rangatahi,” he adds.

Mr Ratima notes that Skills Active has achieved parity between Māori and non-Māori completions, something no other university or polytech has achieved.

“Māori will be disproportionately affected by Minister Hipkin’s proposed reforms – radical reforms that will completely overhaul vocational training in Aotearoa. So where is the evidence for dismantling the ITO system when it’s not broken, and it’s working for Māori?

“We are seeking a reasonable consultation period extended at least until the end of June, commensurate with the scope of this reform. And we wish to have some scrutiny of the government’s engagement with its Treaty partners in this reform.”

Mr Ratima says Education Minister Chris Hipkins has said recently in an answer to a Parliamentary Question that he has not received any negative feedback from Māori about the proposed vocational education reform – despite the many representations that have been made to him in person and in writing by individuals and representatives of hui.

“The Minister should be in no doubt that we believe these reforms will negatively affect Māorilearners. Government needs to embrace the concept of co-design from the outset, and by collaboration, produce mutually beneficial outcomes.” Mr Ratima said.

“Māori tenaciously hold to the ‘three Ps’ of the Māori-Crown relationship: Participation, Partnership and Protection. This reform offends all three.”


Wisenet Seeks Slice of Multi-Billion Dollar Public Education Sector IT Spend

MELBOURNE, 16 APRIL 2019 –On the back of its recent acquisition by publicly listed software powerhouse Adapt IT (JSE:ADI), Wisenet is thrilled to announce the launch of Wisenet ITS Application Suite, squarely aimed at Australia’s TAFE and university sectors.

Wisenet ITS represents a true enterprise class Campus Management Suite built on the powerful Oracle platform.  Paired with extensive consulting expertise, Wisenet ITS can be customised and configured to meet the most demanding and complex workflows that a modern public education provider demands.

Higher education providers including universities and TAFE institutes will benefit from the complete student lifecycle management that Wisenet ITS offers including Finance, Human Resources, Facilities Management, and of course, Student Management.

“Unlike the expensive incumbent ‘old-school’ products that have offered little reward to public sector providers, our innovation extends well beyond the application itself.  Customers can choose from a variety of pricing and delivery models that best align with their business cycles.   Our focus is on how we can help our customers achieve more whether that’s more successful student outcomes, more efficient operations, or more value for money when it comes to their IT spend.

“For too long, Australia’s public education institutes have had little choice when it comes to Student and Campus Management Systems, often resulting in cost and project blowouts.  With Wisenet ITS, we bring a fresh approach in product design and delivery, pricing, and service level agreements,” reports Wisenet CEO, Ben Hamilton.

“We are the first to the market with an option for a true ‘pay-as-you use’ offering for public sector education, extending the highly suceessful business model we have offered the private sector for more than two decades.  This is not a simple manoeuver for incumbent vendors who remain captive to a business model from another time.  With Wisenet, software-as-a-service is baked into the entire business.  The result for customers is lower cost of ownership, risk mitigation, and time to market.

Wisenet is the vendor of choice for more than 1,000 training providers in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and across Africa and Europe, with the ITS product in use in more than 60 universities and higher education providers.  These include some of Australia and New Zealand’s largest private training providers, including Master Builders NSW, The Real Estate Institute of Victoria, Zinfra, and Edenz Colleges.

“With the launch of Wisenet ITS we are very well resourced to set to the pace on product, price and service for what is expected to be a very busy period in public sector education IT projects.  Given the recent failure of projects at various TAFE Insitutes, the time is right for a new paradigm in IT procurement for Education,” says Hamilton.

With over two decades of experience in the Australian vocational and higher education spaces Wisenet has the industry and technical expertise.  Parent company, Adapt IT, is listed on the Johannesburg Exchange and has more than 10,000 customers in 53 countries and has been doing business in Australia and New Zealand with enterprise customers for over a decade. For more information, visit

Skills Active submission on vocational

Skills Active submission on vocational reform presents a better alternative

In a detailed submission on the Reform of Vocational Education, Skills Active Aotearoa has outlined its vision of a strong, unified on-job training system that serves more employers and learners.

From the beginning, Skills Active has argued passionately that we do not need to discard a thriving, successful ITO system which is not broken. However, there are always opportunities to strengthen it further.

“Following our engagement with the Minister and ministry officials during the very short consultation period, it became clear that there was an appetite to hear other ideas to achieve the same vision,” says Skills Active chief executive Dr Grant Davidson.

“With this in mind, we took the time to consider what a ‘unified, coordinated, national system of vocational education’ would look like, and how it could be best achieved.”

Create “Industry Workforce Development Bodies”

In its submission, Skills Active has proposed the creation of Industry Workforce Development Bodies (IWDBs). These bodies would be an evolution of ITOs, and would carry out the following functions:

• Determining industry skill needs

• Developing qualifications, standards and programmes

• Providing workforce planning services

• Working collaboratively with other vocational education providers in order to arrange training, whether on-job, off-job or a mix.

“We propose that the IWDB keeps the current role of arranging learning and assessment for those that are employed, or in an employment-like situation, and are completing a qualification that is predominantly delivered in the workplace,” Dr Davidson says.

Equitable funding to support a stronger training system

Skills Active’s submission supports the government’s vision of a shared funding model, Dr Davidson says.

“The proposal to have an established funding rate for on-job and a separate rate for off-job training, that are universally applied, is an excellent initiative. As already stated, if this one issue was resolved, collaboration between ITOs and ITPs would increase significantly. This would enable a flexible mixed delivery model that met the needs of all learners.”

Dr Davidson says Skills Active’s proposed solution seeks to maximise what is already working in our current system, builds on those parts of the reform proposals that are beneficial, and adds some features that, when all combined, Skills Active believes will deliver the best possible outcome.

“We are very keen to discuss our ideas with government, and be involved in the co-design of our vocational education and training system,” Dr Davidson says.



Swiss companies, embassy to promote cooperation in vocational education with Egypt

imgSwiss companies, embassy to promote

(MENAFN – Daily News Egypt) The embassy of Switzerland in Egypt, along with Swiss companies, will promote educational and vocational training cooperation, in collaboration with the Egyptian government, Paul Garnier, the ambassador of Switzerland, said. He added, ‘The Egyptian government declared 2019 as a year of education and we will leave our foot print on that.’

The ambassador’s remarks came over his speech at the event that was organised by the Swiss Egyptian Business Association (SEBA) last week

The ambassador affirmed that the Swiss private sector in Egypt is very active, mentioning that a large numbers of Egyptian students and teachers across Egyptian governorates are trained or educated by Swiss companies on a yearly basis.

‘Some of them are sent to Switzerland, we think that we should have a more systematic framework between the companies, workers, and the Egyptian government. That is why we have launched an initiative this year in the field of technical and vocational training,’ the ambassador noted.

‘The embassy and the SEBA will continue to work together to provide more opportunities for economic development in Egypt,’ he said, adding, ‘Today’s event is an indicator for SEBA’s power and possibility for good outcomes.’

Moreover, Garnier asserted the embassy’s intention to cooperate with the Egyptian government in order to boost Swiss investments in Egypt, adding, ‘We are proud of the accomplishment of Swiss companies in Egypt and we should work together to even increase Switzerland’s investments in Egypt.’

Additionally, the ambassador affirmed the importance of SEBA’s role in the fields of corporate social responsibility, and working with people with disabilities, noting that the SEBA paves the way to more Swiss projects in Egypt.

‘It is a pleasure to be with you today for the second time. During our initial meeting, the event was attended by Switzerland’s State Secretary of Economic Affairs, Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, who launched the 2017/20 Swiss Cooperation Strategy in Egypt with the Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Sahar Nasr,’ he mentioned.

Recently, Egypt welcomed the Swiss Federal Councillor, Ignazio Cassis, who had very fruitful meetings with the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Sameh Shoukry, the minister of foreign affairs, the Garnier mentioned.

The talks with the president and the FM witnessed discussions of promoting bilateral relations that are going well, the ambassador noted, adding, ‘We signed a paper on the possibility of cooperating with Egypt in the field of peace promotion on the occasion of Egypt’s presidency of the African Union.’

The minister’s meetings were excellent ones which witnessed the discussions of the continuation of the joint cooperation programme, which is diversified, and even tackled the possibility of increasing the programme, the ambassador noted.

‘Minister Cassis attended the celebration of 110 business relations with Egypt in presence of Minister Nasr and the Swiss business community,’ Garnier added.

Actually the business relations with Egypt started in the 19th century, he added, noting that the economic relations were very active and organised in the 20th century.

‘We also want to present to the Egyptian government the needed projects for boosting development, for example, the placement services and training opportunities for skilled workers at Swiss companies in Egypt,’ he mentioned, affirming his country’s plans to look at possibilities of boosting the political and business cooperation with Egypt.

For her part, Marwa Taher, SEBA’s executive director, affirmed the importance of the continuous collaboration between the private sector, the governments, and business associations for helping achieve SEBA’s goal to move Egypt forward toward prosperity and better education.

‘I thank the Swiss embassy for the confidence they put in SEBA and their support. There is a sense of optimism that I can feel it and it shows that we are in a new phase of growth and opportunity, each one has a role to play in supporting the growth of our society and development of young people,’ Taher mentioned.