Delivering skills for industry

Te whakarato pūkenga ahumahi

Last updated 31 October 2016
Last updated 10/31/2016

Delivering skills for industry is Priority 1 of the Tertiary Education Strategy (TES). It aims to ensure the skills people develop through tertiary education are well matched to labour market needs.

This priority includes addressing skills shortages in areas like information and communications technology (ICT) and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). These are the types of skills needed for innovation and economic growth.

It also means ensuring tertiary education supports the development of transferable skills that are needed in all workplaces such as communicating well, processing information effectively, thinking logically and critically and adapting to future change.

Tertiary education organisations and industry working together

The challenge for the tertiary education system is to retain its focus on student achievement while doing more to help those in need of up-skilling or reskilling and to help learners and their families make informed choices about the education that best meets their skill needs and lead to good career opportunities.

To meet this challenge:

  • tertiary education organisations (TEOs) and industry need to cooperate on the types of skills that are most needed, and how best to develop them
  • TEOs need to create opportunities for industry to be involved in planning and delivering education. This joint planning includes identifying opportunities to re-skill the existing workforce.

How we support Priority 1

We're investing in graduates with skills valued by employers. Our range of investment also provides opportunities for learners to train while working.

In our Plan guidance, we set out what we expect of TEOs in delivering on this priority to receive Student Achievement Component (SAC) and other funding, such as Industry Training Funding. In their Plan, TEOs should describe how their organisation is helping learners to gain the skills and the graduate attributes that allow them to succeed in life and the workplace.

Tertiary education institutions (TEIs), in particular, should have open engagement with their communities, and this engagement should infuse their missions. This engagement might include:

  • being responsive to labour market and skills needs – for example, by systematically seeking and responding to feedback from employers on the value and relevance of graduates’ skills
  • developing strategies for knowledge transfer to industry and the community
  • working with schools and communities to create smoother pathways into tertiary education
  • strengthening engagement with Māori and Pasifika stakeholders
  • exploring opportunities for growing international linkages. 

We also expect TEOs to make a greater contribution to economic and social outcomes through focusing on in-demand skill and research needs:

  • in the high-growth sectors of the economy such as ICT, engineering and high-tech manufacturing and construction
  • in the "backbone" sectors of the economy, including agriculture and tourism and international education
  • to support greater economic activity in the ‘tradeables’ sector (such as supporting the skill needs identified in the Ministry of Primary Industries’ People Powered Report (PDF, 1.63 Mb)
  • to meet future workforce needs in sectors facing significant change (such as health)
  • that support economic development plans in regions such as Northland, the Bay of Plenty, South Auckland and Canterbury.

We continue to get better information about the outcomes of tertiary education and the current and future needs of the labour market, industries and the general economy. We expect TEOs to use this information to assess how well their programmes meet the needs of the economy and society of New Zealand. 

The Industry Training Fund

The Industry Training Fund (ITF) is our main fund to support industry training.  It funds industry training organisations (ITOs) to carry out their statutory responsibilities of:

  • developing and maintaining skill standards (unit standards and qualifications)
  • developing and maintaining arrangements for the delivery of training.

The ITF is the Government’s contribution to the cost of training. The balance of the cost is met through contributions from employers, trainees and apprentices.

Industry Training Fund                                                        

New Zealand Apprenticeships

ITOs are responsible for arranging training for apprentices through New Zealand Apprenticeships.

New Zealand Apprenticeships provide a premier vocational pathway and quality support for all apprentices.

New Zealand Apprenticeships:

  • provide an entry point into an occupation setting a person up for a career in an industry
  • meet any regulatory requirements for entry into an occupation
  • contain a strong theoretical component to support further learning, as well as a practical element.

The detailed criteria for New Zealand Apprenticeships are:

  • an apprentice must be employed in the occupation for which they are training
  • throughout the apprenticeship, an apprentice must be supported by a training plan agreed by themselves, their employer, and the ITO arranging the training
  • New Zealand Apprenticeships will result in a level 4 New Zealand qualification, comprising a minimum of 120 credits (ensuring a strong theoretical component).
  • Interim arrangements for New Zealand Apprenticeships (until the end of 2017) allow two or more qualifications totalling at least 120 credits, provided it includes only level 3 and 4 qualifications and at least 60 credits out of the total credits are at level 4.

It is expected that on completing New Zealand Apprenticeships, apprentices will be ‘work competent’ for the occupation in which they have been training, and that their industries will determine the standard of competency to be met.

New Zealand Apprenticeships

Other funds and funding initiatives

We have a range of other funding that supports delivering skills to industry including Māori and Pasifika Trades Training (MPTT), Youth Guarantee and Trades Academies

Māori and Pasifika Trades Training

Youth Guarantee

Trades Academies

We also have a number of initiatives underway to support this priority such as the Engineering Education to Employment (Engineering e2e) programme and the ICT Graduate Schools.

ICT Graduate Schools

With funding of $28.6 million over four years, the ICT Graduate School programme aims to deliver industry-focused education and research that builds connections between tertiary education providers and high-tech firms.

The objectives are to produce graduates with work-relevant and business-focused skills, provide more direct pathways from education into employment, and help grow New Zealand’s ICT talent.

The programme funds education, research and collaborative activities in ICT Graduate Schools in Auckland, Wellington and the South Island, linked to local industries' innovation precincts or technology hubs.

The programme also involves the development of more broadly applicable ICT education initiatives that can be delivered through affiliated education providers throughout New Zealand.

ICT Graduate Schools

Engineering Education to Employment programme

Engineering is a priority of the Government’s Business Growth Agenda. New Zealand needs more engineers to help us build a high-tech economy capable of adapting to technological change.

We initiated the Engineering Education to Employment (Engineering e2e) Programme in 2014 to increase the number of engineering graduates with the skills, competencies and qualifications to meet employer demand.

The Engineering e2e Programme has four main workstreams:

  • Promotion – we launched the ‘Make the World’ public awareness campaign in May 2016 to encourage more young people into an engineering career.
  • Employer engagement – we’ve commissioned the development of a graduate capability framework to describe the skills and competencies engineering graduates need in the workforce. The framework will be launched in 2017. We’ve also started working with Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment, the Ministry for Women and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority on increasing the diversity of the engineering workforce. We are particularly focused on lifting the numbers of Māori, Pasifika and women engineers.
  • Education delivery – we are committed to supporting best-practice engineering education, and we’ve worked on linking tertiary providers with employers and industry. For example, we’ve piloted degree apprenticeships with employers through Unitec’s Bachelor of Engineering Technology qualification.
  • Increasing our investment in engineering education – we’ve continued to increase the number of enrolments in engineering through the Investment Plan process. This will continue the positive trend we’ve seen in the numbers of engineering graduates in recent years – between 2008 and 2015, the number of engineering graduates has increased by 20%. 

Engineering Education to Employment (Engineering e2e)