The open letter signed this week by 100 companies has been applauded by the industry training organisation for the nation’s booming service sectors, ServiceIQ.
But it wants a postscript.
“Tourism is New Zealand’s leading source of overseas income, yet it’s crying out for talented people,” says ServiceIQ chief executive Dean Minchington. “The same applies to hospitality and retail. An insistence on someone holding a tertiary qualification to land a job is madness. In many cases, having a tertiary qualification, pre-employment, is no guarantee of success in the role.”
As the 100 letter notes: ‘We appreciate there are many highly skilled people with practical experience, self-taught skills, passion and the motivation to learn on the job if given the opportunity.’
“That’s very true,” says Dean. “We applaud the recognition of this by the enlightened 100.
But we'd like to add a postscript. Skills, attitudes, motivation and adaptability are indeed of great worth in landing a job. However, it is an organisation’s commitment to on-job training, especially that which leads to a recognised workplace qualification, that proves to their new employee that they are highly valued, their skills are recognised, and that their career progression matters. In many cases this recognition is also key to staff attraction and retention.
“We’re delighted to see that all of the organisations in our sectors that have signed are already working with us to upskill and qualify their people on-job. Like them, we’re committed to their employees. Empowering and motivating people to provide great service helps businesses remain competitive and New Zealand to be internationally recognised as a great place to live or visit. It also gives people working in our industries valuable skills and knowledge along with nationally recognised qualifications.
"We’re calling on the 100 – and all others that join the NZTalent pledge – to also pledge themselves to upskilling their people like the employers we work with have, letting them earn and learn, and awarding them a real qualification, gained on the job. Let’s call this the QualifyNZ pledge,” says Dean.
“While the 100 signed to the NZTalent pledge are mostly large employers, there is nothing to stop businesses of any size working with us to achieve the same thing. As the government-endorsed industry training organisation for the service sectors, the standard of upskilling is the same no matter the employer.
“In addition, as ServiceIQ receives funding from the Government to assist workplaces with qualification based training the cost of an on-job training programme or apprenticeship is minimal, and can even be free.
“Getting in touch with us to find out how we can help take a business to the next step is a no-brainer.”