The vocational education sector is the sector that can most meaningfully respond to the changing needs of the world’s workforce in this post-Covid environment.

This was the key comment from Executive Director of the Global Apprentice Network (GAN Global), Nazrene Mannie. Ms Mannie was speaking at the official launch of the New Zealand arm of GAN New Zealand.

The launch was held yesterday as part of the state-of-the-art virtual NZ Vocational Education and Training Research Forum (NZVETRF).

Ms Mannie said because of the vocational education sector’s focus on the future of work and sustainable work opportunities, this means it has a pivotal role in responding and providing leadership in this area.

Hosted by The Skills Organisation, New Zealand is the 16th country to form a country network of GAN, which is an international business-led effort to promote and advocate for work-based learning and apprenticeships.

It will be run by New Zealand country manager, Josh Williams.

“The formation of GAN New Zealand is so timely,” says Mr Williams, “as vocational education and training plays such a critical role in addressing both youth unemployment and preparing the skilled workforce that we need globally for economic recovery.

“Along with connecting us to critical international discussion and advocacy, GAN New Zealand aims to promote and support workplace training and apprenticeship as a model. We want to support best practice and capability in workplace learning, which is critical in the context of COVID and our current VET sector reforms.”

What’s next for RoVE?

What’s next for the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) and how exactly it is tracking was also a key element of the NZVETRF forum, with a panel of senior RoVE officials.

The RoVE panel consisted of two senior officials from the Tertiary Education Commission – RoVE Director David Strong and Deputy Chief Executive of the Delivery Directorate, Gillian Dudgeon – alongside Shaun Twaddle from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Merran Davis, Deputy Chief Executive of Transformation and Transition with Te Pūkenga.

Moderated by tertiary education commentator Dave Guerin, the panel covered the new systems, structures and responsibilities that will emerge with the new entity that is RoVE – and answered questions from the floor.

The panel acknowledged the magnitude of the work that had occurred in 2020, but also noted that 2021 would be when several workstreams would begin to have real, on-the-ground impact.

Since several of the new bodies: Workforce Development Councils, Regional Skills Leadership Groups and Centres of Vocational Excellence, will have key roles in producing education and labour market information, attendees at the NZVETRF forum were encouraged to share data and information between the VET sector and government, in the interests of supporting good decision making, and most effectively matching skills supply with industry demand.

The NZVETRF forum, which is in its 16th year, had speakers from across New Zealand’s vocational education community and from around the globe. It was sponsored by The Skills Organisation and Ako Aotearoa.

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