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Securing a future through education and upskilling

Te Pūkenga photo

Dr Malini Yugendran

Auckland, January 24, 2023

Education and skills upgrading has become crucial in today’s fast-paced world. The knowledge and abilities needed to thrive in the labour market have changed because of the fast advancement of technology and automation. To stay current and respond to new opportunities and challenges, it is essential for both individuals and organisations to upskill, which is the act of obtaining new skills or knowledge.

Te Pūkenga provides the opportunity for education and chances for upskilling.

Te Pūkenga and upskilling 

Te Pūkenga- New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology was established in 2020 as part of the reforms of vocational education. It is a new kind of organisation providing work-based, on-campus, and online vocational learning and training across the country.

Te Pūkenga brings together the previous 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) and nine Transitional Industry Training Organisations (TITOs) into one organisation.

Te Pūkenga Learner Advisory Committee has been shortlisted for 2022 national ‘Spirit of Service’ governance award. (Photo: Te Pūkenga)

Diverse strategies  

Te Pūkenga employs a variety of strategies to support upskilling. This includes working with the six Workforce Development Councils (WDCs). WDCs work with their industries to develop and maintain a strategic view of the skills their industries require now and in the future. They translate these needs into expectations of what the vocational education system will deliver. Te Pūkenga uses this information to create and implement training programmes that are in line with the workforce’s skill requirements. This includes courses in subjects including science, engineering, and digital technology.

Alongside on-campus and online courses Te Pūkenga supports upskilling through apprenticeships and industrial training, which let individuals learn new skills and information while working in their area of interest.

Deputy Chief Executive Ako Delivery, Gus Gilmore (Photo: Supplied)

Deputy Chief Executive Ako Delivery, Gus Gilmore said, “It is great to see more New Zealanders recognising the opportunities that Te Pūkenga offers and that more employers are wanting to provide further training to their people. In this current labour market, it is one of the best ways for employers to attract and retain their staff.”

Te Pūkenga offers flexible and responsive training options, such as online and blended learning, to make it easier for people to upskill while working.

Student numbers  

According to the 2021 statistics from the Tertiary Education Commission, the overall number of students enrolled at tertiary providers (including work-based training, apprenticeships and international students increased by 6% from 534,398 in 2020 to 566,000 in 2021. An increase of 31,602 students.

The number of domestic students increased by 8% (27,564).

The number of domestic students enrolled increased across all ethnic groups. While Asian and European groups saw smaller percentage growth (1% and 9%, respectively), Pacific People and Māori groups experienced the biggest percentage increases (11% increase for both).

A student achiever

Rosalie Maiava-Zajkowski graduated from Whitireia with a bachelor’s degree in social work with the intention of applying her knowledge to assist the Samoan and other Pacific Islander communities in New Zealand.

With the support of the Whitireia staff, she became the first student from a community tertiary to complete two internships under the Ministry of Business and Employment Policy programme and be employed at the Ministries of Women and Social Development.

“I want to help shape the way that decisions are made at a systemic level, and to be visible so that Pasifika can see that we are being represented and heard. I am starting a new position at the Royal Commission of Inquiry – Abuse in Care, as my next step in that direction.”

According to the Te Pūkenga website, Pacific people are reported to hold less than 1% of chief executive, general manager, and lawmaker offices in government, making them underrepresented in leadership roles.

Mr Gilmore said, “In time, we expect even more New Zealanders will recognise the value we offer as we continue to make changes to support ākonga (learners), employers and communities to gain the skills, knowledge, and capabilities Aotearoa needs now and for the future.”

Dr Malini Yugendran is an Indian Newslink Reporter based in Auckland.

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