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April 01, 2019 at 11:30 am

One week to stop apprenticeship reforms

This week is the last opportunity to make a submission on the Government’s poorly thought through apprenticeship reforms, Industry Training Federation Chief Executive Josh Williams says.

Mr Williams says workplaces will end up with less control over training. 

The reforms propose to transfer responsibility for industry training and apprenticeships away from employers and Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) to vocational providers, including a new national polytechnic

“These reforms will cause a huge upheaval in apprenticeships and on-the-job training. Industry will lose ownership of a growing and increasingly efficient industry-run system.  

"That would remove choice for local employers and limit their voice. Businesses will lose access to both their local polytechnic and their industry-run ITO at the same time.” Mr Williams says.

The industry training sector was surprised to see the proposals. None of the governing parties campaigned on this change at the last election. 

“Nobody is arguing that the system cannot be strengthened. But we should strengthen what is working, rather than double down on what is not.

"In recent days the Minister of Education has been saying that with 15 percent of employers offering formal training the system is not doing well. Those 25,000 employers currently deliver more vocational education than the rest of the system combined, and twice as many vocational qualifications to twice as many learners as the Polytechnic sector.

"I invite the Minister to outline which part of the reform proposal he expects will increase the number of participating employers. We can certainly see the part that risks losing the willing employers we have."

Mr Williams says that anyone with an interest in New Zealand’s apprenticeship system needs to make a submission this week.

“Collectively, ITOs have spoken to thousands of our employers over the last six weeks, and there is widespread concern about this proposal. Our stakeholders do not feel sufficiently informed, nor adequately consulted, because they haven't been. It’s crucial that anyone interested in the future of our apprenticeship system writes in now.

“The proposals are already creating uncertainty in the sector and the upheaval will likely reduce the number of apprentices training in New Zealand.

“The Government needs to lay out a case for what it’s proposing before embarking on such a massive upheaval." concluded Mr Williams.

Submissions can be emailed to