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All schools should be great places to learn. We’re resetting the system that governs, manages, administers and supports schools so that all learners get the same chance to succeed.

The need for change

New Zealand is facing a serious skills shortage.

The demand for skilled workers, such as plumbers, electricians, shearers, and tilers is expected to increase by 5,000 workers on average per year over the next three years. However a recent survey found that 42% of 18 to 24 year olds did not have a positive view of vocational education in New Zealand.

Schools have a key role in helping young people choose their careers. In the Korero Mātauranga | Education Conversation, employers told us that to close the skills gap, young people should be able to move more easily from school into training and employment. Parents and employers told us that education needs to better link local employers and employment needs to student curriculum and career choices.

The Government’s changes to the Tomorrow’s Schools system of governance, management and administration, along with those to vocational education, regional skills and jobs planning, school career advice, and trades training, are designed to close the skills gap, boost regional and national economic performance, and to link our school students more closely to the worlds of further learning and employment.

Key changes of interest

  • The changes will strengthen the education system to better support all learners/ākonga to gain the skills and knowledge they need to be lifelong learners and to fully participate in the labour market, society and their communities.
  • The new Education Service Agency (ESA), as part of a redesigned Ministry of Education, will allow for a more networked, responsive and supported education system between schools, tertiary providers, vocational training providers, and employers.
  • Over time, the ESA will play a role in promoting strong connections across the secondary-tertiary interface to support pathways to further education, training and employment. Work on strengthening these connections is already underway through the review of secondary-tertiary pathways and funding.
  • Removing barriers to funding for secondary-tertiary learning will support better access and a smooth transition into vocational education, and engages students with further learning and employment opportunities before completing their secondary schooling.
  • Prior to these latest changes, the Government announced plans for industry-led Workforce Development Councils to give industry more leadership across vocational education and training. It has also commenced the creation of a New Zealand Institute of Skills and technology to respond to the education and training needs of learners, employers and communities.
  • To increase the number of young people taking up vocational education and training the Government has also announced an increase of 2,000 Trades Academy places in secondary schools and an extra 2,000 Gateway places.
  • Other plans to increase the number of young people in skills training and work include the Prime Minister’s Vocational Excellence Awards, the introduction of micro credentials recognising the achievement of small sets of skills, and the planned creation of Regional Skills Leadership Groups. These groups will help schools and students know what skills will get them good jobs.

What’s next?

The Government acknowledges that this is a significant change to further strengthen the education system. Changes related to governance and management of schools need to work in a complex system that also includes early learning and tertiary education.

They will require ongoing investment of time and resource, and will need to be managed in a coherent and connected way over the next ten years.

A detailed timeline can be found in Appendix 1 of the Government’s position document, ‘Supporting all schools to succeed: Reform of the Tomorrow’s Schools system’.

Full report: Supporting all schools to succeed: Reform of Tomorrow’s Schools system [PDF 2MB]

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Information for learner transitions into employment and education PDF 561KB