Are our students leaving school with the skills they need to make it in the modern world and the readiness to retrain as new jobs in emerging sectors arise? Is our education system too focused on subjects rather than the emerging skills and knowledge our young people need?
These are some of the big issues tackled in the fourth Future of Work Commission discussion paper – Education and Training – released today.
Commission chair Grant Robertson says in the changing world of work we need to ensure there is a genuine commitment to lifelong learning, particularly focusing on the important transition from school to further training, study and work.
“We need all school leavers confidently facing the future of work with the right set of skills and knowledge. We need a strong partnership between schools, businesses and training providers to ensure students are ready for the rapidly changing nature of work. Beyond that we must make sure industry training and apprenticeships are enhanced to meet the needs of the modern workforce.”
This stream of the Commission’s work has been led by MPs Chris Hipkins and Jenny Salesa.
Chris Hipkins says New Zealand has a strong education system we can all be proud of.
“But we must ensure students are prepared for life beyond school. This paper questions whether there should be a ‘toolkit’ for school leavers which includes practical skills such as drivers licences and financial literacy.
“There must also be better careers guidance for students. For too long careers advice has been an ‘add on’ to learning and for the various subject teachers asked to deliver it. It needs to be an integral part of our education system.
“We need to question the traditional high school approach of “picking six subjects” towards a goal of university study. Schools need the ability to prepare students for their next steps in life – whatever they may be. Many students learn better in industry training or on the job,” Chris Hipkins says.
Jenny Salesa says the most important thing we can do to prepare students for the changing workforce is to teach them how to “learn to learn”.
“In coming decades people may need to reskill several times so they can change between jobs and industries as technology makes some roles redundant and creates entirely new positions,” Jenny Salesa says.