The announced disestablishment of Te Pūkenga shows the Government has no plan for vocational education, says the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions.
NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff said he was deeply concerned about the impact that another change process will have on the provision of vocational education to the workforce.
“The government’s approach to change is to terminate existing arrangements without producing a plan for what will replace it, leaving everyone in the lurch and without any certainty. The consequences of taking this approach at Te Pūkenga are enormous.”
The disestablishment of Te Pūkenga is going to mean several more years of uncertainty in this sector, threatening continuity of vocational training and adding enormous stress for an already exhausted Te Pūkenga staff.
“This is another example of the new government’s absence of vision and its disregard for workforce development and workers’ wellbeing.”
Wagstaff said the Government is underestimating how costly this change process will be, in terms of losing momentum to service delivery, impact on learners, impact on current staff, and financially.
“The new Government has talked repeatedly about being careful with taxpayer money, and about doing evidence-based policy. Yet it is embarking on an uncosted and unplanned restructure of the vocational education sector without providing any evidence as to how this will improve outcomes for learners. This is the very opposite of responsible government.”
Wagstaff said that the Minister for Tertiary Education and Skills Penny Simmonds needs to front up with a plan.
“The NZCTU invites Minister Simmonds to articulate her vision for vocational education, and to explain how the disestablishment of Te Pūkenga will deliver this vision. We also invite the Minister to do some homework and figure out how much this is all going to cost.”