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Aggregate & Quarry Association

Rushed reforms threaten training for smaller industries

Rushed reforms threaten training for smaller industries raining opportunities for smaller industry sectors such as quarrying may be lost with the Government’s proposed changes to vocational education, says an industry leader who saw similar changes in Australia.

Rushed reforms threaten training for smaller industries raining opportunities for smaller industry sectors such as quarrying may be lost with the Government’s proposed changes to vocational education, says an industry leader who saw similar changes in Australia.

Aggregate and Quarry Association Chief Executive Wayne Scott says his industry is extremely disappointed that it was not consulted prior to release of the consultation document on reform and at the very short consultation period for such a major shake-up of vocational training.

Wayne Scott is also Chief Executive of the Mining Extractive Health and Safety Council, MinEx. He returned to New Zealand 18 months ago after 30 years working in the extractive sector and as a regulator in Australia where he watched similar ‘reforms’ which failed to deliver even across 10-15 year timeframes. He fears New Zealand is now going to repeat Australia’s errors.

Both his organisations have recently invested heavily in the development of new learning programmes for extractive sector workers.

“We had no prior indication that such far reaching reform was being considered. As one example, our new extractive industry apprenticeship programme could now be in jeopardy, or at least left in limbo, while this consultation is conducted and the resulting changes are implemented.

“Much of the time to develop this programme was voluntary and the sector has worked openly with our ITO to develop industry-driven learning programmes which suit our workforce.”

Wayne Scott says the Government is clearly developing a model to suit large national employers and major industries.

“Some of them are already supporting the proposed Industry Skills Councils when there is little detail in the consultation document, including on what expectations the Government has for employer contributions.

“That support leaves me believing that smaller industries such as ours, which can’t justify or fund an Industry Skills Council may be left out in the cold in terms of
industry-driven training.’’

Wayne Scott says this would leave smaller sectors to compete with the Government run NZ Institute of Skills & Technology for the provision of training across the country.

“We smaller industries would have little or no ability to influence the quality and content of training in our sector. This classroom style, campus-based training, has already proved inadequate for the provision of training in our sector.”

“While we in the extractive sector acknowledge some reform is required to vocational education and training system, to totally dismantle it, whether currently working or not, over a very short time frame is most concerning for the future of our industry

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