Fiona Kingsford, chief executive at Competenz, has penned an open letter that provides reassurance to employers that any new Competenz apprentice or trainee agreements signed this year will be honoured by the government, regardless of changes that may happen with the proposed Reform of Vocational Education.
In the letter, she quotes Tim Fowler, chief executive of the Tertiary Education Commission, who provides employers with an assurance that new training agreements entered into this year will be honoured for the duration of the training, regardless of any future changes.
“I am sure you will be aware of the government’s vocational education review and the subsequent ‘Reform of Vocational Education’ proposal released in February 2019, which was far more wide reaching than expected.
We welcome the Minister of Education’s desire to improve vocational education in New Zealand, there is much about the proposed changes that we fully support. However, we are deeply concerned that the removal of the ITO’s role in supporting employers and learners through ‘arranging of training’ will have a direct impact on our employers, just when they need the support the most. At the time of writing this, Minister Hipkins had not yet released his final decision on these reforms, this is expected mid-to-late July.
In the meantime, we have been actively lobbying the Minister and Ministry of Education about the proposed reform, particularly the removal of the ITOs’ role in supporting employers and learners in arranging training – our submission and alternative proposal can be found at competenz.org.nz.
We are aware some employers may be reluctant to sign up new learners into apprenticeships and traineeships while the system is under review.
In response to our request, we have received a letter from Tim Fowler, chief executive of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), which provides employers with an assurance that new training agreements entered into this year will be honoured for the duration of the training, regardless of any future changes.
His letter says, “I can confirm that any training agreements entered into this year will be honoured for the duration of the training period subject to them meeting the existing funding criteria set by the Tertiary Education Commission. I am happy for you to share this letter with employers as we are very supportive of all opportunities to increase work-based learning.”
For Competenz it is business as usual, we are here to support all our employers, apprentices and trainees. We continue to sign up a record number of apprentices in 2019, continuing the trend from 2018. It is vital that we work together to continue to grow the skills and capability of New Zealand workplaces.
Chief Executive Competenz”