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Submission to the Ministry of Education: Consultation on Vocational Education Reform

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Our Association is proud to be the representative body for 2,300 hospitality businesses in New Zealand, employing over 30,000 people. Overall we welcome the Government’s goal to deliver an education system that is sustainable and fit for the future of work, delivering what learners, employers and communities need.

We can see merit in many of the changes being proposed, particularly with regard to ensuring employers have faith in the education system’s ability to deliver the skills industries need. However, we harbour considerable concern about the scale of changes and the interim impact of these changes, when the need to grow the number of skilled workers in hospitality is critical.

Consultation with our members has emphasised their preference is to employ New Zealanders and supplement with migrant workers when there are no suitable New Zealanders available. However, in practice the pipelines are currently not straightforward.

Our members have also told us there is a breakdown in adequate industry training which in many cases fails to produce individuals ready to step into the workforce. We encourage the Government to press on with significant increases in employer-led learning. It makes sense that if current training programmes continue to produce non-work ready candidates, that training designed with employers to fit their requirements, will go a long way in bridging the gap.

The Association acknowledges the current model does not encourage collaboration of Institute of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) and Industry Training Organisations (ITOs). Our industry ITO, ServiceIQ, is good at balancing workplace training that places equal importance on the learner and the business owner, however need to be given the tools to respond more quickly to industry needs.

Service IQ has consistent engagement with industry, with room to improve engagement processes in respect of small to medium enterprises. Our members maintain that while interactions are generally positive, more needs to be done to ensure future training reflects the needs of employers.

“We are extremely proactive in working with education providers in an attempt to find good people. However this has become increasingly difficult over recent years.”
Association Member 3, Survey March 2019

We encourage the Government to look at the reality of the hospitality industry, not only in a local context but also internationally. As demonstrated by global shortages of key talent in hospitality, the challenges being faced here in New Zealand are not unique.

We know changes to training models will not be a silver bullet, especially given the low unemployment rates, but they are a positive start.

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