[Sitting date: 27 June 2012. Volume:681;Page:3418. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]
SIMON O’CONNOR (National—Tāmaki) to the
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment: How is the Government improving pathways into vocational training as part of its target for lifting qualifications at Level 4 and above?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE (Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment)
: Today the Government published five vocational pathways to support young people progressing from school into tertiary training and into a career. Vocational pathways identify the real knowledge and skill requirements of a number of key industry sectors, providing certainty to learners and their families that their subject
choices are relevant and connected to employment opportunities. The pathways cover construction and infrastructure, manufacturing and technology, the primary industries, the service industries, and social and community. Having these clear vocational pathways for students will help us achieve our Better Public Services target of 55 percent of 25 to 34-year-olds holding a level 4 or above qualification.
Simon O’Connor: How will these vocational pathways help young people in the real world?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Many young people at school are seeking a strong sense of direction about how to get where they want to go career-wise. We have worked with the Industry Training Federation, industry, and educators to bring together new and clear pathways that will help learners through the wide range of work and study options available to them. The pathways show students how their skills and knowledge will be valued in the real world when they look for a job and start their career. Lifting student achievement and ensuring that all young people have the skills they need to reach their potential are vital for them, for their families, and, of course, for the New Zealand economy.
Grant Robertson: Has the Minister now read the State Services Commission advice that I tabled in the House yesterday, which says: “The proportion of the 25 to 34-year-old population with qualifications at level 4 or higher was growing steadily up until around 2009. Since then it has flattened off …”, and why does he think that might be?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I have seen that advice. There is some debate as to whether that happened in 2007 or 2009, but, nevertheless, why do I think that would be? It is because of the settings left by the previous Government in the last few years of its time in office. As we know—or as the member should know, as somebody who spent such a long term in tertiary education—it does take a period of time for settings to change and to lift completions of degrees. I would point out to the member that this year, 2012, we are expecting 31,000 bachelor’s and bachelor’s honours completions by domestic students, up from about 28,500 in 2008 and 26,000 in 2007. In fact, we expect more than 32,000 in all the years going forward, and that is a response to the increased number of places at universities that this Government has put in place.