As part of the wider national Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga, the Government is reforming the vocational education and training system. This is one of the four “big reviews” that form part of the Education Work Programme.
The Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, announced the Government’s decisions on the Reform of Vocational Education proposals on 1 August.
Read more(external link) on the RoVE Education Conversation website
Sector Change Welcome
On 1 August the Minister of Education announced far reaching changes to the vocational education sector. Now, the sector enters the zone of uncertainty where details are firmed up and plans are finalised. During this period, I have no doubt that NMIT will be asked to contribute our views and sector expertise to the change process that is planned. This will be an ongoing reflection of the way in which the Minister has managed the reform process to date.
The engagement process around reform was significant and NMIT, and our region, participated fully in the process. Delivery of the proposals in August showed that our feedback was listened to and was incorporated into the final decision making. Our concerns were taken into account.
While there is still much detail to be determined, the new direction appears to align well with NMIT’s focus on building strong partnerships with local industry and sector groups. Last month NMIT announced our alliance with the Bragato Research Institute (BRI). The national Research Winery will be built at NMITs Budge Street campus in Marlborough. BRI worked alongside NMIT and the Marlborough Research Centre to secure the site, and the location will enable further collaboration between the organisations. We have taken a similar approach with other specialised sector groups including aviation engineering, conservation, aquaculture and maritime. This aligns with the Centres of Vocational Excellence, or CoVE approach, which forms a core part of the reform. NMIT will step forward to participate in the development of these new opportunities which will enable us to continue with development of valuable industry relationships. It will make sense for the establishment team to select NMIT as the CoVE for grapes and wine given our location, existing partnerships and proven delivery in this sector. We communicated the benefits of this preference during the consultation process and we will continue to push for this decision.
Other areas where we have identified potential opportunities for greater involvement in the reform process include sharing our expertise on Business Intelligence models. We have clearly demonstrated improved outcomes year on year and are now recognised as having a leading model that provides vital analytics enabling us to track and monitor progress as well as forecast learner outcomes.
In addition, the 2018 Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) performance results, placed NMIT first for course completion rates for all learners. The Institute was also placed first for completion rates for both Māori and Pasifika learners during 2018. These rankings are produced following assessment against performance of all sixteen Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) and we anticipate that the expertise we have demonstrated in this KPI will be called on to help build performance targets relevant to the new culture.
NMIT has strong relationships with Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) who have traditionally delivered apprenticeship training across a range of sectors. Under the new system ITOs will be incorporated into the ITP model. This is a substantial change that will require a strong partnership approach at a local level and NMIT will be working hard to facilitate the transition with the minimum amount of disruption, for those in existing apprenticeships and for their employers.
I urge government to move forward with the sector funding review quickly. The sector has not had a funding increase for over a decade and yet cost of living has increased significantly over that time. The demands during the change process will be significant and increased funding will be a requirement to ensure success.
I have no doubt that the Establishment Board will be working swiftly to ensure the right process is in place to make the transition as efficient as possible and we look forward to working with them as required.
Finally, I acknowledge the team at NMIT, the NMIT Council, Te Tau Ihu and the wider Nelson Marlborough community for their engagement and commitment during this uncertain process. I have no doubt that the significant skill base of Team NMIT will be called on during transition, to add value to this complex process of sector change.
While the road ahead has some uncertainties, NMIT will step up to the challenge and work to make transition not only smooth but a successful one for Aotearoa.
NMIT Chief Executive