Skills Industry Survey

More than half of employers say they will hire fewer apprentices if the Government proposal to merge polytechs into one national body is implemented.

This survey of Vocational Education Training Reform, completed in March 2019, reflects the opinions of 927 respondents from nationwide trade employers.

Contents

Industries

Participating Industries

Regions

Participating Regions

Opinion

Agree or disagree with the changes

Hire or Not

Impact on hiring apprentices

Verbatims

Concerns of employers

Industries

Participating Industries

Employers who participated in the survey are from these industries…

  • Electrical 44% 44%
  • PGD 22% 22%
  • Roofing 10% 10%
  • Scaffolding 2% 2%
  • Cranes 2% 2%
  • Other industries 10% 10%
  • Did not indicate industry 9% 9%

Regions

Participating Regions

And they are from the following regions….

Opinion

Agree or disagree with the changes

Do they agree or disagree with the government changes?

%

disagree

Most employers will have to deal with the new mega-polytech for apprentice training

%

disagree

Enrolment of most apprentices, on job and off job learning, will be controlled by the new mega-polytech

%

disagree

New centralised mega polytech is good for the industry

Do they agree or disagree that the changes will result in…

%

agree

Training programmes will become more theory based and out of touch with what skills employers need

%

agree

Discourage some employers from taking on an apprentice

%

agree

Discourage young people from taking on a trades career

%

agree

It will become difficult for employers to train apprentices

%

agree

Bring uncertainty for employers on how training will work

Hire or Not

Impact on hiring apprentices

For employers, the proposed changes would mean that…

  • I will no longer hire/less likely to hire/hire less apprentices 55% 55%
  • Nothing changes for me 25% 25%
  • Others 10% 10%
  • Not response 10% 10%

Verbatims

Concerns of employers

Do they have other concerns about the proposed reforms?

Doubts on the future quality of trades training

Training needs to be industry based and led to ensure that any skills training is relevant and stays up to date with rapidly changing technology. Academic institutions tend to lag industry trends and be more bums-on -seats focused (as this is the measure that determines their funding) rather than result based (quality of trainee and training).

Yes, the apprenticeship system while not perfect is working better now than a few years ago while the poly techs don’t really work. If we are under the same umbrella as the polytechnics it will spell disaster for the construction industry to attract and train apprentices. I believe the quality of training under poly techs will not be to the standard required by the construction industry.

Theoretical and school based learning will produce half baked engineers without the aptitude for the trade or the brains to become engineers. Producing trades people in theory but not practice Modern schooling practices will produce qualified people potentially quicker but without the practical understanding needs to be of use. This will increase costs and reduce quality of the workforce that has already being degraded through political interference over the last 25 years.

I think it belongs in the past, not the future, haven’t we been down the road where apprentices spent most of the time in the Polytechs not making it viable for employers to have them.

The reforms miss a major part of the VET system in that Schools are outside the scope and yet employers consistently ask to be more involved in informing school students about careers and about the opportunities and requirements for success It will be very difficult for ITPs to engage with employers that see ITPs as schools and they left school because it did not meet their learning needs.

The new training system will produce tradesmen that will then need to be trained to actually do the job they are currently training for.

Don’t let academics control trade based training as they don’t have any real understanding of what is needed. Most of them have never left school!

Poly techs are so far removed from Industry. When we used them the class sizes were too big, tutors were disinterested and often didn’t turn up at the last minute. Times for classes did not work in with our business. They wanted them to be during the day each week not after normal working hours. It wasn’t a partnership and we have had much better results with Skills and ETITO.

The disconnect between industry and educational institute will widen until we end up in a situation where the actual qualification is viewed as worth less or even nothing and we end up with young people having to effectively work for years to prove their competence which is not good for anyone.

Concerns about centralisation

Centralisation never works. Such institutions just reach for the lowest common denominator. Money gets spent on the wrong things and much is wasted.

It’s going to be layers and layers of people and departments passing you from one to another before you can get through to any one to help you if this happens.

I’m worried about getting lost in a huge system. My apprentices and I will become just a number and will lose personal service and connection.

I feel as employers we will become a number and will not receive the face to face support and resources that are required for a trade based company.

Apprenticeships are paramount to the continued growth of industries within NZ. Having one mega organisation controlling the process from enrollment to completion means that it will become a faceless organisation which processes paperwork. We need to care about the process and make sure that it is effective and constructed and relative to their trade.

My concern is. As an industry specialist business we train our staff along side skills with specific path, and almost weekly contact. How can we continue to do this with a centralised provider?

I think each trade is very specialised and that putting all the training under one roof will be a mistake.

Centralisation of any anything has been proven to be unsuccessful. This will be no different. Training will be theory based and not partnered with experience. Apprentices will get lost in the system and just become a number. The speed and inflexibility of these proposed changes leaves us full of doubt and that it is change for the sake of change. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!!

My concern is. As an industry specialist business we train our staff along side skills with specific path, and almost weekly contact. How can we continue to do this with a centralised provider?

Why fix what is not broken?

Why break a fit for purpose training solution that is delivering outcomes for industry, employers and apprentices and hand to to organisations that have a history of nonperformance?

You are breaking what we only just got working right, to replace it with what has never worked for us. The pre-trade poly students are useless, and I get better results from employing straight out of school before they get corrupted.

Currently ito’s have a personal contact with employers, problems are discussed and solutions found, I suspect that the polytech package will not have that type of contact with the employers.

Why isn’t the government working with the existing Training providers who are doing an exceptional job. To take them over and role them into their Polytech System makes no sense. Industry training for industry is the best way to ensure quality trainees.

The current system is working well. Employers can dialogue easily with ITO with ease. The money would be better spent on good training facilities and staff that instruct our apprentices. Not more bureaucracy.

ITO’s should not be swept up into the financial issues faced by polytechs. ITO’s work. The polytech model needs change to avoid further bailouts, agreed. ITO’s service learners AND industry. At a time when we need more apprentices in trades, why make it hard or confusing to take on, and invest in, training an apprentice? It just doesn’t make sense.

What we have now is working well. We have a really good relationship with Skills and this really helps with our apprenticeship programme. If it isn’t broken why fix it?

I have trained at least 12 apprentices and have another currently, to date and all have become successful competent electricians. The system seems to be working just fine, in the electrical industry at least. Why break it? Oh yes, thats what this government does best!!

Why change a system that works. I strongly disagree with any change.

No more support for employers and apprentices

I feel that ITO support is crucial for both employers, apprentices, and the industry. Without ITO support it will become very difficult for me to keep track of whether my apprentices are completing the work required, and I won’t have 1 apprenticeship manager to ensure ease of having my questions answered. It also means I won’t have the Apprenticeship manager holding my apprentices accountable for completing their training, and I think the industry will have less say in the training content.

Only localised support works for tradies. We’re not all big 20-person teams, most trainers i know are 1-5 person teams. This change will disenfranchise a lot of employers, who will look offshore for easier options in the labour market. This is very bad for NZ.

Young apprentices are un organised as it is when it comes to paperwork and business don’t have the time to organise off job apprentice training. Having a “you sort it out” mentality is just gonna make apprentices stay in the system longer, potentially not qualify and employers will be less likely to take new apprentices on, which will be pointless in an industry crying out for qualified people. People go into trade because there good with there hands not because there good at paperwork.

Not having direct point of contact into workplaces would be detrimental to training and the employee / employer – direct contact is extremely important to us.

As an employer recently in business and starting to think about taking on an apprentice I am concerned about not having the support and knowledge I would have from skills as I have heard from my friends that they get.

Our concern is that training providers like Skills organisations won’t be there to support us employers and employees apprentices therefore more apprentices may not pass or will give up and the industry (and all other industries) will suffer and end up having a way lower pass rate and less qualified tradesmen and women for our country. bringing down the countries (Aotearoa New Zealand) qualified trades people percentage against other countries. We will end up looking like Unskilled labourers. Not a good look as that’s all the statistics will show (lots of people in training but no passes in qualifications). And that’s all the big people (whoever they are- the government peeps?? ) look at.

Lack of detail and consultation

Proposed reforms should not have been announced without any details being outlined. Such a major change should not have been signaled with a blanket announcement of the proposal of change, which will occur, and totally lack any follow on information. How this has been handled has caused immediate uncertainty to all employers who train apprentices.

There seem to be very few details available to make any kind of informed decision.

Lack of evidence from govt about the need to establish this radical move away from what industry says works.

I am concerned that The baby will be thrown out with the bath water because the decision appears to have been made without any consultation. It would have made more sense to have done an investigation into the current practices before making an uneducated announcement and throwing the whole industry into chaos.

Where was consultation with the every day small employer/trainer.

6 weeks to put submissions in before you decide on your predetermoned policy. For such a big change this time for consultation appears to be a formality only.

the ito mergers in 2010/11 took a while to embed and settle and the thought of 16 organizations merging and running smoothly and coherently by 2020 is quite frankly laughable. I am also shocked labour chose not not engage with employers, industry bodies or ito’s in this process. if it is only the voice of a few failing polytechnics that are being listened to then it is doomed to failure. especially as they are proposing to use the 140000 learners in industry training to prop the failed system up.

Lack of information to companies that train apprentices.