Steve Divers from SWEP comments on Government‘s proposal to merge ITPs

4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineFebruary 15, 2019

New Zealand Trucking spoke to Steve Divers, director of career pathways for SWEP, about the Government‘s proposal to unite the country‘s 16 existing Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) into one entity, with the working title of the New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology.

“I think it‘s possibly a good thing. We work with a number of tertiary institutes, and expanded the programmes last year from five to seven. If we took it as read all the institutes are going to merge into one, then it could allow – hopefully – those programmes to be delivered in not just those seven locations, but potentially opening up the other nine ITPs, also offsite locations as well.”

Divers said a single entity training organisation had the potential to be more cost-effective.

“I think there are other benefits too. We‘ve been working with MITO, who developed our industry qualifications, and I think there will be a better link between the industry training organisation and the providers of the courses.”

Divers said there had always been a disconnection between the industry training organisation and the tertiary sector. MITO would register the qualification with the NZQF, but then the tertiary institutes had to develop their own courses based upon that.

“There does seem to be a bit of duplication in process. The tertiary institutes should all group together and develop the resource, and those trainers should agree – with the industry training organisation and the industry – what that should look like.”

The proposed merger will open the door to more formalised training, Divers believes.

“It will provide better coverage nationally, and potentially greater integration between the industry training organisation and the driver training departments of each of the ITPs.”

A single entity training organisation could possibly also lead to a New Zealand-wide cadetship with better links to the industry.

“It gives us room to create something else, and that could be based upon micro-credentials – bite-sized chunks of training. The current Level 3 Certificate in Road Transport is 90 credits long. One credit is equal to 10 hours of learning and assessments; that‘s 900 hours to complete that certificate.”

Divers said the length of some tertiary programmes was a barrier to attracting people considering changing careers.

“With micro-credentials, instead of being say 90 credits to a programme, they might have a three-credit programme or a two-credit programme, which might be very specific to one thing. It might be a Road Ranger course, or a SAFED [Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving] course. That could be a lot better for the industry because you could actually then target particular weaknesses in training.”

Divers said last year more than 240 people undertook and completed a Level 3 certificate in Commercial Road Transport via a tertiary institute.

“They remain the largest contributor to industry training with a recognised qualification. The challenge remains to ensure that the industry partners with tertiary institutes so that students have the opportunity to gain experience in the workplace and accumulate driving hours.”

Submissions on the Government‘s proposal close 27 March and Divers wants to ensure the industry has a say in what happens.

“This is an area of interest for us, and we are likely to provide feedback on behalf of the industry and we would certainly be very keen to hear from anybody who has a particular opinion on it.”