Government unveils education scheme aimed at closing the education 'gap'

Employment Minister Steven Joyce
Hekia Parata

The government has launched an initiative aimed at getting students into jobs in the creative sector.

The Creative Industries Vocational Pathway was announced today at the Te Ara Whakamana Transitions and Bridges to Tertiary Education Forum in Wellington.

Employment Minister Steven Joyce says the initiative is a response to students wanting learning options that directly relate to the creative sectors.

“Vocational Pathways helps students to better plan their studies and set themselves up for their future. They can use the pathways as a framework to help choose their subjects and also see how they relate to future job or career opportunities.”

Mr Joyce says employers need qualified, skilled and creative young talent.

The Vocational Pathways are part of the Youth Guarantee Scheme, which assists schools and tertiary providers to develop more relevant learning opportunities.

It includes pathways into construction and Infrastructure, manufacture and technology, primary industries and other courses, Mr Joyce says. 

This comes off the back of a Labour policy announcement over the weekend that would mean Immigration New Zealand would be given the power to make employers train New Zealanders before getting the nod to employ workers from overseas.

Labour’s policy was met with opposition from business leaders around New Zealand who say impeding immigration for employees will have a negative effect on businesses.  

They say the country needs to focus on up skilling workers in New Zealand. 

Hudson NZ general manager Roman Rogers says there is a big gap in the skills market.

“There is a significant gap between the skill sets required by New Zealand businesses and the skill sets that are available locally.”

BusinessNZ chief executive Phil O’Reilly agrees with Mr Rogers, and adds the government needs to work with businesses to solve the shortage of skill sets.

The Creative Industries Vocational Pathway will be doing exactly that and the Minister of Education Hekia Parata says lifting student achievement ensuring all young people leave school with the skills needed to reach their potential is vital to the economy.

“Adding the Creative Industries to the Pathways provides a broader offer for young people to better continue their education and successfully progress to further study, industry training or employment.

“To gain meaningful employment, all young people need a solid education achieving at least NCEA Level 2 and we need to get more of them to achieve at a much higher level. There is a growing demand for educated and skilled young people from employers,” says Mrs Parata.

Jason Walls is an AUT journalism student

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