Beat the skills gap with industry training
17 December 2014
We can beat the skills gap if we meet the future demand for skilled workers in areas such as aged care, says the
Industry Training Federation.
“This Christmas we’ll be thinking of growing number of older people who need support,” says Industry Training Federation
(ITF) Chief Executive Mark Oldershaw.
“With a rapidly ageing population, we must respond to the need for qualified support workers in a timely and tailored
While around 12,000 support and care workers undertake workforce training across New Zealand each year, the predicted
shortfall in support and care workers is a threat to our social and economic wellbeing.
The ITF represents all 12 of New Zealand’s Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) including the health and community
support services ITO, Careerforce.
Careerforce has been working with Health Workforce New Zealand to develop a health and disability workforce action plan
to respond to the needs of the ageing population and the increasing prevalence of chronic disease.
In Treasury’s Briefing to the Incoming (BIM) for the Minister of Health, it states an appropriately trained support
workforce enables people to be cared for in their homes, which frees up hospital beds, benefiting our health system and
The ITF has appealed to the Government for changes in funding and direction to create a more cohesive, efficient
industry-led training sector.
“Continued Government support for foundation, or entry-level, qualifications is also critical,” says Mark. Approximately
85% of trainees in the home support, care workforces are completing level 2 or level 3 National Certificates. “This
first step is often the most important. Workers gain skills, knowledge, competence and confidence, often to progress
However, says Mark, recent Government proposals are to drop back support for foundation education and refocus ITOs on
higher levels of learning. “We have made it clear to government that reduced support for entry level qualifications will
come at the crucial cost of skilled workers. Now is not the time to discourage training, particularly in sectors such as
health and disability.”
The resounding benefits of industry training are evident throughout the health and disability sector on a daily basis,
with employers noting the profound improvement in the quality of patient care after training.
“This is the ultimate benefit of training,” says Mark. “Improved quality, productivity, and greater employment
“We are urging the government and industry to work with us to beat the skills gap. We need a more efficient,
industry-led training sector, which matches provision to current and future need.”
The ITF is a voluntary membership organisation representing all of New Zealand’s ITOs.