Private training establishments continue to play key role in vocational education and training

Private training establishments continue to play key role in vocational education and training

Last updated 4 October 2021
Last updated 4 October 2021

Gillian Dudgeon

The private training sector is expected to play an important ongoing role in vocational education in the new reformed era, Tertiary Education Commission Deputy Chief Executive Gillian Dudgeon told the ITENZ conference in early September.

“The Government is committed to maintaining provider choice and PTEs play a key role in that,” she said.

There was scope for the private training sector to meet a lot of existing as well as potential new areas of need within the reformed system, Gillian said.

“Over time, we expect the vocational education system to mature.

“There is an opportunity to think about how the system is being reformed, and how PTEs can respond to and benefit from what workforce development councils (WDCs) and regional skills leadership groups (RSLGs) have to say about their industries and about regional skills needs.

“PTEs should stay connected for insights and intelligence on emerging areas of high-demand skills and competencies, and finding the opportunities in industries and regions.

She also advised PTEs to ensure their delivery was up-to-date and responsive.

She said, for example, that collaborating with Te Pūkenga and the Wānanga to provide and develop training around the needs of Māori and Pasifika and underserved learners was likely to be an important long-term growth area.

“The significant reform of the health sector and the creation of the new Māori Health Authority is also likely to require a whole new area of specialised training needs to support this.”

She pointed out that the unified funding system, based on current thinking, aimed to enable different types of delivery to be funded accordingly, to have special focus on learners that needed the most support, and to fund innovative and responsive ideas to address national and local skill needs.

“Therein lies opportunity.”

Based on current estimates, TEC expects some PTEs would take on the transitional industry training organisations’ (TITOs) arranging training functions for at least 14,000 learners across Aotearoa from the start of 2023. These numbers represent around 13% of total learners for whom arranging training is being provided.

Gillian added that there may be opportunities for PTEs to take on arranging training functions even if they don’t do it as part of the transition of TITOs to other providers. However, she cautioned that TEC wasn’t interested in creating unnecessary duplication so proposals would need to be well considered.

“There are possibilities there, yes. If you meet the criteria, if it’s something well supported by industry and if it’s in the best interests of learners.

“TEC is not in a position to give additional financial support to PTEs to take on arranging training functions so PTEs must carefully assess the investment required and decide if it makes long-term commercial sense for their business.

“Long term, we want a system where providers are growing and developing their offering so that work-integrated learning becomes much more widespread.”