New Zealand Law Society - Vocational training merger bill introduced

Vocational training merger bill introduced

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The Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill was introduced to Parliament on 26 August 2019. Minister for Education Chris Hipkins is in charge of the bill.

The bill amends the Education Act 1989 and repeals the Industry Training and Apprenticeships Act 1992 (ITAA) to create a unified and cohesive vocational education and training system.

Currently, industry training organisations are recognised under the ITAA to develop arrangements for the delivery of work-based training. Sixteen polytechnics, 3 wānanga and a large number of private training establishments (providers) deliver vocational education outside of the workplace under the Education Act.

The consequence of this complex dual system is that it does not always meet the needs of learners, employers or regions. Some polytechnics are facing challenges to their sustainability, putting access to their delivery at risk, and employers find the lack of industry input into education delivered outside of workplaces frustrating.

The bill will establish a single regulatory framework for vocational education and training by bringing the provisions of the ITAA into the Education Act.

Part 1 provides substantive amendments to the Education Act, repealing the definition of industry training organisation (clause 4), combined council, designated polytechnic, industry training organisation, polytechnic, polytechnic council and reconstitution day (clause 7(7)(a) to (f)). Clause 8 inserts definitions for New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST), subsidiary, trainee, training contract, vocational education and training, work-based training and workforce development council.

Subpart 1, clause 479 enables workforce development councils to be established to provide skills leadership, set standards and develop qualifications, endorse programmes and moderate assessments, and provide an advisory and representative role in vocational education and training (clause 482).

Clause 222A establishes the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology as a tertiary education institution under the Education Act and a Crown entity for the purposes of the Crown Entities Act 2004. NZIST will provide, arrange, and support a range of vocational education and training, including in the workplace (clause 222B).

New subpart 1 of new Schedule 1 (clauses 27 to 40) provides transitional arrangements to enable a smooth transfer of functions and responsibilities from the current system to the new system.

New clause 27 of Schedule 1 provides that on and after the commencement date (1 April 2020), every polytechnic previously established or deemed to have been established under the principal Act becomes a Crown entity subsidiary of NZIST and all the rights, assets, liabilities, and debts of the existing polytechnic become those of its corresponding NZIST subsidiary.

New subpart 2 of Schedule 1 (new clauses 41 to 56) deals with transitional arrangements relating to the replacement of industry training organisations by workforce development councils.

Subpart 3 of Schedule 1 (new clause 57) empowers the making of transitional regulations for the purposes of facilitating or ensuring the orderliness of the transition of the amendments.

Part 2 repeals the ITAA (clause70), consequentially repeals the Education (Polytechnics) Amendment Act 1990 (clause 71), consequentially revokes 3 Orders in Council made under the Education Act (clause 72) and consequentially amends other enactments (clause 73).

The Act will commence on 1 April 2020.

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