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Update from ITPNZ

Paul Matthews. 25 November 2019, 11:31 am
Update from ITPNZ

Here's a quick weekly update from ITP CEO Paul Matthews

The last few weeks have been furiously busy at IT Professionals NZ, with heavy involvement in planning the future of vocational tech education amongst many other things. 

This week, let's take a brief look at why the RoVE review into Vocational Education is so important for the tech sector, and what are the opportunities - and risks - of the changes?

The future of vocational tech education

As mentioned here in recent months, the significant transformation of the Institute of Technology and Polytechnic (ITP) sector, via the outcomes of the Review of Vocational Education (RoVE) is in full swing.

RoVE essentially combines all 16 Polytechs in NZ into one entity, moves workplace-based education from the ITO sector to this new mega-Polytechnic and disbands ITOs, revamps how the funding side works and lots of other changes.

There are lots of both opportunities and risks for our sector in this change. The biggest risk is to one of the largest pathways into our industry - a third of all degree graduates go through a Polytech pathway, yet degree provision has fallen outside the scope of RoVE (even though the changes will have a profound impact on degree provision).

However, there are huge opportunities too. For example, the ITO structure, and the previous structure of apprenticeships, were never suitable for our industry. There are a number of reasons, arguably the primary one being that the complexity of learning for our industry is at a higher level than the previous apprenticeship system could provide (tech industry education starts at Level 5 with a focus at Levels 6 and 7 on the NZ Qualifications Framework, whereas the Apprenticeship system operated at Levels 3 and 4).

The new structure, if designed and implemented properly, has the potential to allow for a greater focus on different educational approaches, such as blended workplace and classroom-based education, Degree Apprenticeships, as well as more flexible learning approaches such that which a well-designed structured micro-credential system could provide.

I say "well-designed" and "structured" because this is important. We envision a system where learning for qualifications could be broken down into smaller micro-credential "chunks". Each chunk could be learned in a multitude of ways (eg institution-based, distant taught, workplace-based, or Assessment of Prior Learning-based, etc). Obtain all of the chunks and show a coherent pathway of learning and you earn the qualification. 

This is a simplification of course and initially more suited to sub-degree than degree-level, but you get the idea. Our industry needs more flexibility in learning and implemented well, the new structure could enable providers and industry to work together to provide for this.

Interestingly, this also provides greater opportunity for Private Training Establishments (PTEs) and many of these are already moving fast to explore and create new opportunities and pathways for learning, which is great for our industry.

ITPNZ is working closely with the Tertiary Education Commission to ensure the outcome of the Review strengthens and supports our industry rather than damaging it. Core to this is the Workforce Development Council, which is the industry-focused qualification and standard-setting component of the new structure and enables our profession to have an even greater say about what the vocational educational pathways look like.

To this end, last week ITPNZ, supported by other key industry and provider stakeholders, put in a proposal to TEC on how the WDC could be formed and the importance of ensuring the WDC is structured in a way, and with like industries, to take the greatest advantage of the reforms for our profession and industry. We will release a version of this publicly once we've given TEC and the Minister's Office a chance to consider it. 

Industry Transformation Plan workshops

Another "ITP", this time the Industry Transformation Plan for the Digital Tech sector, is undergoing consultation at workshops around New Zealand over the next couple of weeks.

This is an opportunity for ITP members, whether or not from the ITP sector above, to have a say on the ITP for Digital Tech. Haha… we need some new acronyms folks! Let's call it an Industry Advancement Plan or something.

Grumblings about acronyms aside and in all seriousness, it's really important that the profession has a strong voice in the development of the plan as it could well focus Government and other efforts over the next few years. ITPNZ is working alongside MBIE, NZTech and others focusing on the skills and education components, but the implication is far broader.

The Industry Transformation Plan is intended to set out an agreed long-term vision for the digital technologies sector, and a joint government-industry action plan for how to achieve this vision.

Six workshops are being run around the country in late November - early December, to gather input on what the long-term vision for the digital technologies sector should look like, and to understand what the major challenges and opportunities faced by the sector are, to inform the development of an action plan.

These sessions will be an opportunity to provide your perspectives and input to the development of this long term plan for the digital technologies sector. Graeme Muller from NZTech will also provide an update on NZTech's recent activities.

The details of the sessions are:

  • Auckland: Tuesday 26 November, 8.30am - 12pm, Westpac, 16 Takutai Square.
  • Wellington: Thursday 28 November, 1 - 5pm, IT Professionals, Level 24 Plimmer Tower.
  • Dunedin: Monday 2 December, 1 - 5pm, SIGNAL ICT Graduate School, Level 2, 123 Vogel St.
  • Christchurch: Wednesday 4 December, 1 - 5pm, ChristchurchNZ, Level 3, 101 Cashel St.
  • Tauranga: 9 December, 1 - 5pm, Basestation, 148 Durham St.
  • Hamilton: Tuesday 10 December, 8.30am - 12.30pm, CultivateIT, L2 Wintec House.  

If you want to attend please RSVP to [email protected]

Farewell to Jess Malaulau 

We're sorry to say that we recently farewelled Jess Malaulau from our National Office operations team. Jess had only been with us a few months but within a few days was a key part of our team, however the commute was too much and she's now working closer to home.

Good luck for the future, Jess - you'll be missed!

We are currently filling the role with existing staffing and will appoint a new Admin in the new year.

Save the date - 5th December

If you're going to be in Wellington on 5th December, save the afternoon for the 123Tech National Finals and Expo at TSB Arena. It's going to be a truly special occasion.

With heaps of the tech industry and others showing off what they're working on, combined with the national finals event hosted by Suzy Cato, it really is going to be an inspiring afternoon.

We still have one or two slots left if your company wants to show off what you do to the best of the best digital school students and the public, but you'll need to get in fast. This is an industry promotion opportunity, not a sales event. More info, email [email protected].


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Ron Segal 27 November 2019, 11:49 am

It seems to me that the future of IT and ITPNZ in this country should be about more than just keeping the corporate (and government) 'lights on'. To achieve that we surely need aspirational direction as well as vocational.

By aspirational I mean stretching 'traditional' IT into newer areas including the so called 'internet of things', machine learning and gaming(!). Rather than, or in addition to 'devops', 'testing' etc, which are more 'lights on' related.

Paul Matthews 27 November 2019, 9:53 pm

Hi Ron, Agreed.

Note that "Vocational" in a NZ context simply means "below degree level". However even at this level, current and emerging technologies are hugely important.

This is why the review of Tech-related Qualifications this year put requirements in place for qualifications to include coverage of the sorts of areas you've outlined above, and we even encourage it at school level through Tahi Rua Toru Tech.

So yes, agree it's absolutely essential that both areas are well covered.

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