Meeting the labour and skill needs of the wellbeing sector
The service sector is a large and important part of the New Zealand economy, fostering significant employment and wealth opportunities.
The sector accounts for 29% of New Zealand employment – nearly 600,000 people. It contributes $47.8 billion to GDP, nearly a quarter of the country’s goods and services. And the sector is growing rapidly. By the year 2020 it is estimated that the sector will produce 200,000 job openings as people leave their employment and new jobs are created.
The four Industry Training Organisations that cover the sector – ServiceIQ, Careerforce, Skills Active Aotearoa and the Hair & Beauty ITO (HITO) – have come together to form At Your Service Aotearoa.
The purpose of the At Your Service Aotearoa collaboration is to promote a plan of action to meet the growing demand for trained workers. The ITOs want to optimise the link between the supply of people ready and available to work, and the growing demand for qualified workers.
Recommendations of AYSA
At Your Service Aotearoa wants to work with Government to achieve better employment outcomes:
- We encourage all stakeholders in the service/wellbeing sector to sign up to nationally focussed action to target those who, without support, may otherwise not enter the workforce locally
- In particular, we seek recognition from decision-makers that the sector potentially has solutions to a key New Zealand problem: 90,000 NEETS (Youth not in Employment, Education or Training) who are at risk of becoming socially isolated and economically dependent on the Government
- We urge decision-makers to work with ITOs and across agencies to help get those not in the workforce – but who genuinely want to and are able to work – to enter service sector/wellbeing training and jobs
- We support closer examination of how social investment programmes can be shaped to help those whose best work opportunities might lie in the service/wellbeing sector – test, learn, and adapt; build on what works; work nationally, but tailor to local situations; enable/scale the best programmes
- We encourage closer support for employers who want to give work opportunities to those who presently have poor job prospects
- We urge steps are taken to enable and fund skills-focussed awards that recognise small packages of competencies, as opposed to formal qualifications, in order to meet service sector industries’ specific skill needs
- Recognise that not all New Zealand businesses have a human resources function. For small employers, this can make recruitment and training challenging and time-consuming.
There is an opportunity for At Your Service Aotearoa and Government to collaborate on careers advice, by:
- Co-ordinating efforts to build awareness amongst parents and careers’ advisors of the good career paths and rewarding work on offer in the sector
- Taking steps that enable the education system to better create career pathways for low achievers in schools
- Meeting a national need for vocational education programmes that will prepare young people for specific jobs in the service/wellbeing sector.
- At Your Service Aotearoa can work with Government on immigration issues with a view to:
- Providing a training pathway through industry training to residency for those who meet the stringent requirements of a work visa
- Putting in place training arrangements that will help give some relief to immigration settings for employers demonstrating a commitment to employ New Zealanders first
- Making greater use of Accredited Employer and Approval in Principle Schemes
- Enabling more targeted approaches to easing national and regional skill and labour shortages.
At Your Service Aotearoa is talking to decision-makers, industry, officials and other stakeholders in an effort to mobilise support for a plan of action that will ensure the wellbeing sector has the skilled labour it needs to meet future demands. If you require more information, or want to share any ideas with us, please get in touch.
Contact: Bruce Robertson, At Your Service Aotearoa Ph 027 440 0650