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Training and Programme Gaps

Refers to the analysis and identification of various gaps that exist between the content and delivery of training programmes and providers, and the actual requirements and expectations of the industry in adequately preparing individuals for real-world tasks


In recent years, the sector has voiced concerns regarding the effectiveness of training programmes in adequately preparing individuals for ‘real-world’ tasks. A key issue is the overemphasis on academic-focused training at the expense of practical experience, creating a gap between theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

Improved cooperation between industry-led programmes and providers is imperative. Currently, there are communication and alignment gaps between industry-led programmes and providers such as Te Pūkenga, which seem to prioritise general training instead of catering to specific industry demands. It is crucial for training programmes to better align with industry-specific requirements and equip learners with the appropriate skills and knowledge for their chosen career paths.

The industry acknowledges the progress made in training programmes and qualifications over time. However, the current training mix lacks balance, as certain aspects like health and safety are redundantly covered in different unit standards. It could be advantageous to shift these aspects, along with more theory-based learning, to an online platform, as is already happening.

Online training options have proven beneficial, particularly in reducing expenses. Nevertheless, there is a growing recognition that practical and hands-on training should be conducted in person to ensure skill verification. However, challenges arise in smaller regions where limited resources and facilities hinder the effectiveness of online training.

Furthermore, there is a scarcity of block courses, and training primarily relies on employers or external trainers providing on-site instruction. This shortage limits individuals' access to comprehensive training programmes, especially in regions where block courses are not easily accessible. In certain cases, off-site training locations may be necessary, especially when on-site locations present safety risks. However, it is essential to upgrade learning resources, facilities, and ensure compliance with safety standards to establish a safe and conducive learning environment.

Inconsistencies in the delivery and moderation of assessments among different providers further compound the challenges faced by the industry. These inconsistencies can result in variations in the quality and reliability of training outcomes, undermining the effectiveness and credibility of the likes of apprenticeship programmes. Reviewing and improving the governing body responsible for establishing consistent and appropriate delivery and assessment practices is necessary. Maintaining the integrity and quality of qualifications relies on conducting assessments consistently and fairly across all training providers.

Training providers are facing their own set of challenges, primarily stemming from funding, capability, and capacity challenges, namely a shortage of trainers and assessors. The recruitment of new trainers with the required subject matter knowledge and credibility is proving to be a formidable task, putting strain on training providers ability to offer comprehensive and specialised training that align with industry needs, and ultimately impacting the overall competency and preparedness of apprentices.

To build and sustain the capabilities of trainers and assessors, ongoing support and resources are necessary. This includes providing training materials, assessment materials, comprehensive training programmes, appropriate training collateral, and access to suitable training sites. Additionally, acknowledging and appreciating trainers who go above and beyond the prescribed assessment structure is essential. These dedicated trainers invest extra time and effort to ensure apprentices grasp the practical aspects of their training, enhancing their competency and readiness for real-world scenarios.

Lastly, before the recent 2023 Government Budget announcements, there were significant concerns about the possibility of government support funding being withdrawn from apprenticeship programmes. These concerns revolved around the potential decrease in apprenticeship opportunities and the resulting impact on the sector's ability to meet evolving skill requirements and address demands in the labour market. The recent announcement has mitigated some of these concerns. Nevertheless, there is an increasing demand for the sector to expand its funding sources beyond the current heavy dependence on government support. One suggested solution is to establish partnerships with the sector, often referred to as "angel's money." Industry partnerships can provide alternative funding streams that offer greater flexibility and fewer restrictions. This enables the sector and training providers to foster innovation, adapt to evolving industry requirements, and deliver high-quality training programmes.

  • Gap between theoretical knowledge and practical skills

  • Need for improved cooperation between industry-led programmes and providers

  • Balance in training mix and online learning

  • Challenges in smaller regions and limited resources

  • Inconsistencies in delivery and moderation of assessments

  • Challenges faced by training providers

  • Concerns about government support funding

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