Skills and tertiary policies practical and positive
National’s skills and tertiary education policies are practical and well-focused on getting higher skilled New Zealanders, says BusinessNZ.
“These two policy areas can have a huge impact on New Zealand’s ability to compete in a global economy,” BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly said.
“Business has been very clear about what is needed for a better performing skills system, and it is evident that National has taken those issues on board.
“The focus on outcomes, improved performance, a simpler qualifications framework, industry relevant courses and qualifications, and the promise of increased investment in industry training as demand grows will be appreciated by business. It is to be hoped that further funding will be focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills.
“Of critical importance is the development of clear vocational pathways between school and work or tertiary education so students leave school better prepared for life,” Mr O’Reilly said.
BusinessNZ’s recent Election Survey revealed that 68% of employers feel school leavers are not well prepared to be effective in the workforce.
“Vocational pathways are the direct result of the business request for school leavers to be better prepared for life.
“Young people need to be able to clearly see what skills are necessary for a future career path and how to get them. National’s intention to develop clearly signposted vocational pathways for five key sectors of the economy is a valuable first step towards this outcome.
“In tertiary education, the availability of choice is meaningless if those who are doing the choosing are not equipped with the facts necessary to make an informed choice.
“National’s commitment to collecting and publishing data for graduates of each qualification in a way that students and families can use is long overdue.
“Moves towards greater accountability in the student loan scheme are also welcome however National has failed to address the major fiscal and behavioural risks caused by interest-free loans. This policy is out of step with other parts of National’s policies and should be reconsidered.”
Mr O’Reilly said the next Government must continue to improve the student loan recovery and repayment rates.