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  • Submissions close today in biggest shakeup in decades
  • Careerforce employers urge Government to slow down reform
  • Proposed reforms will not tackle worker shortage problem


As submissions close today on the Government’s proposed reforms to vocational education training, leading Industry Training Organisation, Careerforce, is urging Education Minister Chris Hipkins to carefully weigh up the clear risks he’s taking with the proposed shake-up.

“We have told the Government in our submission, that it needs to take care, and proceed slowly or risk damaging the very system that is successfully producing the trained workers our health and wellbeing sector so desperately needs,” said Jane Wenman, Careerforce CEO.

“Our sector stakeholders have been very vocal, and we urge the Government to consider their submissions very carefully. They know best what is working, what needs to change, and what the real impacts will be if the reforms proceed as proposed.”

Careerforce oversees on-the-job training for many sectors who care for our most vulnerable New Zealanders – across aged care, mental health, disability, youth work, and home and community support services.

“In preparing our submission, we received feedback from nearly 500 employers and other stakeholders in our sectors and the message we heard was loud and clear.

“There was a real fear that industry voice would be lost in these reforms and so their ability to ensure training programmes met their needs would be damaged. Many agreed that vocational training could be streamlined, but not at the expense of disbanding ITOs as the Government is proposing.

“Nearly two thirds of employers felt the change could in fact increase costs for them, which would have the unintended effect of reducing training, given the cost pressures our sectors already face.

“We agree that the polytechnic sector needs urgent reform, and there is scope for greater collaboration across vocational education and training, but the rapid and radical reform being proposed is a huge risk.

“Minister Hipkins talks about the reforms being needed because of the shortage of skilled workers across many sectors. But he has failed to explain how these reforms will magically find those workers. Our sectors alone need 88,000 workers over the next five years to meet rising demand. We just can’t see how the creation of one large bureaucracy is going to help tackle that problem.

“In fact, the Government is taking a big risk in overhauling vocational education and creating significant uncertainty at precisely the wrong time.

“All we want is the Government to slow down and take a more considered approach to avoid the risk of dismantling the very aspects of vocational education that are working in an effort to salvage the part that is clearly failing.

“It needs to listen – and we expect that our sectors alone will have made more than 30 submissions to the Government.

“We owe it to the hundreds of thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders who are looked after by the workers we train, to pause, get this right and not rush it simply to cure problems elsewhere,” said Jane Wenman.


For all media enquiries, or to arrange Jane Wenman or industry contacts for comment, please contact Paul Williams, Marketing & Communications Manager on 027 600 7395, or at

Careerforce is the Industry Training Organisation (ITO) for the health, mental health, youth work, disability, social services and cleaning sectors. Careerforce support employers across New Zealand’s health and wellbeing sectors to run workplace training programmes, allowing staff to achieve nationally recognised qualifications on and off the job. We are the Government appointed body that sets skill standards, develops and facilitates achievement of NZQA qualifications across all our sectors. For more information please see: