New Zealand is suffering from critical skills shortages. Change needs to happen, and happen quickly. To help politicians advance this goal, every Member of Parliament has been sent a set of valuable documents that articulate how to tackle this urgent need.
The package of 20 ServiceIQ documents include Regional Roadmaps for the service sectors in each of the country's regions and an over-arching service sectors Workforce Development Plan, as well as national Māori, Pasifika and LLN (Literacy, Language and Numeracy) Action Plans.
Dean Minchington says ServiceIQ is calling on all politicians, in both central and local government along with regional development agencies to work together and get behind actions defined by industry to change things for the better.
"Without scaremongering, there's a very real crisis around the corner. It puts our successful service sectors at risk, and unless things change soon, New Zealand will be worse for it," says Dean Minchington, Chief Executive Officer for ServiceIQ, Industry Training Organisation for the tourism, hospitality, aviation, retail and retail supply chain and museum industries. "The service sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy, as it employs 25% of all workers in New Zealand and contributes almost $40 billion annually to GDP.
"Action is needed to fill, and upskill for, around 200,000 jobs that will be opening over the next two to three years. This is more than an industry being a victim of its own success. Employment is booming, and declining polytechnic rolls suggest education is moving into the workplace even more than ever. In fact, if we approach this together and take ownership to find a solution, it could be an opportunity not just for the education industry but for the country.
"This week, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced changes to scrap bureaucracy around some education funding. He said: 'This is another strong sign of this government's commitment to a more collaborative approach to tertiary education.' I hope that this is just the start of a return to skills provision that is defined by industry need, and provided in a way that works for the trainee, the employer and for all New Zealanders.
"For example, transitions and careers advice have never been more important, as is the focus on inclusiveness and achievement for our Māori and Pasifika communities. The New Zealand Initiative's forthcoming report, Spoiled by Choice, which reveals how our national assessment – designed to make schooling more inclusive – actually both widens and disguises disadvantage." We welcome the review of NCEA and believe industry training organisations have a key role to play with senior secondary schools as well in building the pathway to work.
Dean Minchington notes that tourism is the number one export earner for New Zealand, and offers every region an opportunity to grow, develop and upskill its people, but that skills shortages in the industry are critical. "ServiceIQ is in the ideal position to work with industry and government to ensure employees are gaining skills that are required, relevant and productive for both individual and employer. The provinces are a key driver of New Zealand's economy and a government priority, as the $1 billion Provincial Growth Fund makes clear."
The Regional Roadmaps and Development Plans have defined actions that will help businesses overcome challenges that include attracting and retaining staff; transitioning capable young people from school into work and on-job training; increasing productivity through core skills development; and improving business and management capability.
"We look forward to working with local and national government politicians and officials to help them solve the problems that they're grappling with, and helping every New Zealander who wants a career in one of our service sectors to achieve that goal through on-job upskilling."