COVID-19, planning for a ‘lift and shift’ transition, and rapidly changing customer needs and demand were just some of the challenges that the service sectors’ industry training organisation, ServiceIQ, faced last year.
Despite this, it was a year of many successes, as outlined in its 2021 Annual Report.
Board Chair, Bruce Robertson, notes that the organisation has much to celebrate. “ServiceIQ has been hugely successful in continuing to meet current employer and trainee needs. Moreover, it has also maintained high quality and standards at every step, all while planning for – and implementing – change stemming from the Government’s generational shift Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE). Dealing with the challenges of COVID-19 was taken in stride as just more bumps in the road. This has been outstanding.”
The organisation’s Chief Executive, Andrew McSweeney, says the ServiceIQ team can be especially proud of the way they remained focused on delivering excellent customer service. “The dedication and enthusiasm of the people who are ServiceIQ is proven when, despite the obvious challenges of 2021, our customer satisfaction metrics continued to climb from already high levels, and a better than expected $1.6 million operating surplus was achieved.”
“Among the highlights of the year was the extremely successful effort to bring the Retail Apprenticeship to life. “This was rewarded with a strong uptake and – equally pleasingly – excellent progress was made with other Apprenticeship offerings,” notes Andrew McSweeney.
“We recognise the importance of the employer support provided by the Government’s Apprenticeship Boost Programme and Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund for our apprentices in retail, hospitality, and aviation. These sectors may continue to struggle with the on-going challenges the pandemic presents, but they continue to understand and support workplace training and the value it delivers now and for the future, particularly as we see COVID recede many workforce demands will be evident given talent shortages in many of our sectors.”
ServiceIQ had success in this latter area too with, despite the lockdown challenges for schools and workplaces, a 34% increase in Gateway student numbers. “More than 2500 young Kiwis experienced how our service sectors offer both valid career options and learning and qualification opportunities. Despite COVID-19 causing postponements and presenting health and safety challenges, our team was also able to deliver two important initatives: a series of events that connected students with employers, giving them a look behind the scenes at a variety of workplaces; and well-received professional development days throughout the country, attended by more than 100 teachers.”
The ServiceIQ 2021 Annual Report notes that it will be the last for the organisation because, on 1 July 2022, it will ‘lift and shift’ into Te Pūkenga’s Work Based Learning Limited subsidiary, joining the three industry training organisations that have already transitioned, and others who will move in the second half of the year.
Andrew McSweeney says ServiceIQ has continued keeping customers fully informed and their interests to the forefront, while also keeping staff engaged, informed, and motivated to keep delivering excellent service.
“It seems an age now from when the RoVE reforms were first announced three years ago. There is still much to be done before we may see the benefits of this unprecedented structural change as the new RoVE entities get themselves established, develop effective working relationships, engage more with industry, and most importantly deliver some demonstrably better outcomes than the old system being left behind.
“For our customers in the service sectors this should mean more employers engaging in vocational education, their employees building more capability and skill resulting in a more productive and valued workforce, much higher participation and achievement rates by all learners – particularly Māori and those under-served by the current system, a demonstrable return on investment – the spend on vocational learning at circa $1.1 billion p.a. is huge, and a more flexible dynamic and customer focused system that future service sector employers will embrace.
“We finished 2021, and head into 2022, with customers and staff highly engaged and aware of the potential that RoVE can deliver. Together, we are working hard to do our bit to ensure the changes produce outcomes that are for the better and will make a real difference. That’s what we are here for.”