An ambitious work plan is underway to create a new national Institute of Skills and Technology (IST), a cornerstone of the new vocational education system and one of seven key changes in the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) programme.
A strong, capable national Institute needs a solid foundation on which its Council can continue to build. There are two key parts to the work involved.
Ten foundational actions will be completed by 1 April 2020 – these cover the critical things that need to happen when the legislation passes and the Institute comes into being as a parent company with 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnic (ITP) subsidiaries. A key focus of this work is ensuring continuity for learners, staff and industry while we transition through the Reform programme.
Seven future-focused actions are the domain of stakeholder working groups which are looking at the skills and capabilities the Institute will need in order to create the new world of learning. These cover areas such as the learner journey, work-based learning development, online delivery models and international education. Work on these will continue past 1 April 2020.
December highlights include progressing the appointment of a chief executive, opening a regional bid process for the permanent location of the IST headquarters, and commencing the process to recruit directors to the subsidiary boards that will govern the ITP subsidiaries from 1 April 2020.
The IST Establishment Board is supported by the IST Establishment Unit, a lean project team led by Executive Director Murray Strong. Together the team is working hard to ensure the 17 workstreams create better outcomes for learners, employers, staff and communities.
In September, a call went out across the sector for nominees to participate in seven working groups looking at the future-focused actions. From more than 500 nominations, 76 diverse stakeholders were selected. Each group includes an IST Establishment Board representative, a facilitator from within the sector, and a principal advisor linked to the IST Establishment Unit for support.
The groups have each defined their own scopes and are working collaboratively to create recommendations that will provide an essential resource for the incoming Council of the new national Institute.
Where is it happening?
The IST Establishment Unit is based in co-working offices in Ōtautahi Christchurch, but with staff and board members spread throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, the work happens wherever people are, with technology facilitating connections and collaboration.
As part of its day one operating requirements, the IST Establishment Board needs to select a permanent home for the national Institute’s headquarters. On 6 December, an open and transparent bid process launched on the Government’s Electronic Tender Service as the next step in this process.
To help get the right balance between a co-ordinated national system and being able to respond effectively to local and regional needs, Cabinet decided this process would be open to all regions except for Auckland and Wellington. The draft Charter requires the Institute to offer a mix of education and training, including on-the-job, face-to-face and distance learning in each region.
How is it happening?
There are many moving parts and work is progressing collaboratively across the sector within the time constraints set out in the Minister’s Letter of Expectation.
The IST Establishment Board and Unit are committed to upholding the principles of te Tiriti o Waitangi and are seeking advice and support to ensure these principles are increasingly evident in their thinking and approach.
Why is it happening?
With a serious skills shortage across a number of industry sectors, the current system isn’t meeting the needs of all employers, and this is projected to get worse if nothing changes. Bold changes are needed across the vocational education sector to keep up with the rapidly evolving world of work.
At the heart of the Reform are learners, employers and communities. The new national Institute will be driven by the need to deliver quality, consistency, accessibility and mobility for all these people.
On 1 April 2020, for the first time in the history of vocational education, all 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics will move from a competitive to a collaborative environment.
It will also be the first time that a national network of provision will begin the process of developing the capability to support work-based, provider-based and online learning as a unified system. It will provide pathways to employment especially designed to keep pace with the changing needs of industry.
Across the country, approximately 240,000 people are participating in some form of vocational training. The transition to a fully functional national Institute will take some time, and we need a strong foundation on which to build – that work is happening now.
The above article was published in the final RoVE newsletter for 2019, to help people understand a bit more about our work.