MITO’s submission to Government on 5 April strongly disagrees that the entire vocational education sector needs radical change.

MITO chief executive Janet Lane says that the submission represented the feedback received from stakeholders, including employers, industry associations, corporate entities and learners. “The proposals represent the largest shift in New Zealand’s tertiary education and training system in over 25 years. The six week consultation period was extended by just one week which did not provide sufficient time for robust debate around the far-reaching implications. Just the same, our website survey drew 835 responses, with 84% of the respondents indicating they had concerns with the proposals. Their apprehension was shared with nearly 40 corporate employers who attended an urgently convened corporate summit in Wellington.”

“We support the intent of the RoVE proposal to ensure clear and complementary roles, better links and pathways and increased collaboration and co-operation across the sector.”

“We support proposal 2, and consider the financial stabilisation of publicly funded vocational education providers the most urgent priority. We also support proposal 3, to create a unified vocational education funding system.”

“We recommend an expanded role for the proposed Industry Skills Bodies to ensure consistent national delivery and adherence to industry standards across the vocational system. We do not support transferring responsibility for workforce training and apprenticeships to vocational education providers.”

MITO’s submission outlined the following risks, should the reform go ahead as proposed:

  • Employers may not engage in industry training, making skills shortages worse
  • Small, niche industries will be disadvantaged
  • Successful systems and processes will be lost.

“Our advice to the Government was to retain the parts of the current system that afford a strong New Zealand Apprenticeship brand; promote career pathways for school leavers; support specialisation and discrete focus on an industry; provide strong, individualised pastoral care for learners and employers; and offer flexible and innovative training solutions that meet the needs of learners.”

In order to achieve this MITO’s submission provided a counter-proposal:

  1. Create a unified vocational education funding system to remove overlap and encourage collaboration.
  2. Consolidate (or reconfigure) the Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) with urgency to provide off-job training for the vocational education system, but not to provide or support workplace learning and assessment for work-based vocational education.
  3. Extend the leadership role of industry and employers across all vocational education, including provider-based vocational education, by expanding the role of Industry Training Organisations. Do not separate arranging training from standard-setting. Industry Training Organisations’ (alternatively Industry Skills Bodies) legislated roles need to include:

          a.  Provide skills leadership, co-ordinating industry efforts to identify and address future skills needs
          b.  Provide advice to employers on workforce development, training options, career pathways and preparing for future skill needs
          c.  Promote educational and careers pathways within individual sectors
          d.  Develop skills standards, qualifications and programmes
          e.  Uphold the quality of assessment
          f.  Develop learning and assessment resources for programmes that providers must use
          g.  Purchase training and provide pastoral care services to learners in industry training. 

“We believe that a realistic timeframe must be taken to design a new system, and a considered and staged approach to any changes must be built into the reforms. We urge the Government to create a unified vocational education funding system and consolidate the ITP sector before considering any changes to ITOs.”

“We advised that risk-mitigation is needed throughout the period of change, recognising that disruption is likely to cause a slowdown of businesses that are willing to commit to training. We recommended that the government incentivises employers to engage in industry training, starting immediately.”

“We outlined that our stakeholders consider it crucial that industry has a strong voice and that ongoing and open dialogue is essential throughout the establishment of any changes. We reinforced that MITO is committed to supporting the Government in refinining the solution.”

Download MITO’s full submission PDF - 1.3 MB