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.