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Friday Night Takeout | Education Central

Opinion Piece: Skill Consulting Group, Principal Consultant, Josh Williams

In New Zealand, there have been some pretty important points on Friday nights over the last two weeks. I don’t just mean fish and chips.

It was also when Education New Zealand, Te Pūkenga and the Skills Consulting Group hosted a virtual conference in the Asia-Pacific region on vocational education and training. Participants from 58 countries gathered to discuss different perspectives on the APAC region as a whole and beyond the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system.

Why?

Because these are now very interesting times for vocational education, both domestically and globally. Of course, there is also a COVID. It puts government and private sector skills and training a top priority as the economy changes the way people work and learn. In addition to all other supply chain challenges posed by the pandemic, the “lack of available talent and skills” again outweighs the international risks in the New Zealand “Meeting Room Mood” survey. It regularly crossed the chart before the COVID appeared.

Now that borders have begun to consider reopening, including international education, it is time for us to think about ways to improve capacity and productivity, develop skills and improve the workforce.

It was also argued that the pandemic is accelerating trends in education and the workforce. It became clear which tasks could be performed remotely, which tasks could not be performed, and as a result, which population segment was privileged. There is confusion in parallel with vocational education about the types of learning that can occur in remote areas and learning that, despite daily improvements in technology, cannot yet be fully implemented.

The forum was particularly amazing in that regard. There were presentations from Carl Hansen of HPNZ and Guanghui Fan, GM of JD Logistics Education in China. My takeaway? The future of AI-driven work is here, and some models of education look seriously awkward when compared.

So why is New Zealand in control of the TVET debate across the APAC region?

It’s easy. Our education model is entering a period of change not only with COVID-19, but also with RoVE (Reform of Vocational Education). At the headline level, RoVE invited us to imagine a seamless, lifelong skill-up system between employers and institutions. The vision was repeated in many sessions, but the changes designed to make it happen are underway over the years, and operating and resource models are still under development. Of course, that’s not surprising given the magnitude of the structural changes RoVE has made. However, given the serious skills and workforce challenges that plague the economy today, we need to continue to support the industry and carefully balance it to make the right changes.

Introducing RoVE at the forum, co-sponsoring Tepkenga’s keynote speech by Stephentown CEO and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins, and opening remarks on how the broad TVET sector will benefit from the high reputation of New Zealand’s VET system. Was emphasized. , Quality system and know-how. APAC’s neighbors recognize that New Zealand has a sophisticated and high-performance vocational system. We are doing a lot very well. In particular, we host events like this international forum to find solutions to problems that we all share.

One of the key themes that has emerged has been an important role for employers, governments and TVET providers to work together to build an effective vocational system. Basically, it means building a common language for discussing skill issues and working together. Yes, we hold many vocational education conferences, but how often does the conference program inspire busy employers to give up the day to hear a lot of “educational stories”? The APAC Forum was balanced in that respect with inter-company and inter-government content streams. After all, training isn’t just about what’s currently done in the qualifying framework.

My last word needs to be directed at the learner, as well as the forum itself. The forum has gathered a panel of WorldSkills international competitors from Russia, Australia, South Korea and Hong Kong. These wonderful young people had a real round table meeting that everyone was privileged to witness. As champions, they talked about the support they received (or did not receive) for vocational education and career decisions, and the success they experienced by turning their skills and interests into a fulfilling career.

WorldSkills is a huge issue internationally and it is good to strengthen it here as part of an effort to raise awareness of vocational education. Panel moderator Anna Prokopenya is from Russia and is currently making fine pastries in Paris. The edible joy she pointed out cannot be made or enjoyed in Zoom. It was certainly a pause to think about my Friday night fish and chips.

Josh Williams is the lead consultant for the Skills Consulting Group, which co-sponsored the APACTVET Forum with Te Pūkenga and Education New Zealand. The expressed views are his own.



Friday Night Takeout | Education Central

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