Friday, April 16, 2010

ITF day 2 - morning sessions

Day 2 begins with a keynote from Professor Paul Dalziel from the AERU at Lincoln University on the OECD leveraging training and skills development in SMEs study – a NZ study. Began with a background on the role of the OECD and its influence in training and skills development. Provided details on objectives of LEED, a multi-country study of how SMEs may be able to leverage training and skill development. NZ is the first country to participate. Four key concepts covered – formal / informal learning, knowledge-intensive service activities (KISA), regional skills ecosystems and particular issues of SMEs.

KISA includes R & D, international marketing, financing, management consulting, intellectual property legal services, HR & accounting – some research shows the capacity of firms to perform KISA more effectively may differentiate a firm from its competitors.

Ecosystems venn diagram need to meet to produce high skill ecosystem, the parts are firms, education & training, individuals and policy settings. Small changes by each part of the ecosystem may work towards enhancing the total ecosystem. In NZ, ITOs contribute to industry ecosystems but ITPs lead regional ecosystems.

90% of enterprises in NZ are SME and they generally cannot afford to maintain large KISAs. Therefore, may be greater reliance on informal, on the job, unstructured training by SMEs. Small firms provide their own KISAs inexpertly because they cannot afford to purchase them.

Details of preliminary findings of the NZ LEEDs study were provided focused on the web based questionnaire. Almost all firms had a budget set aside for training and about 70% had training plans. However, the amount of $$ actually put into training was very low. ½ wanted to engage with formal training and for many costs was the challenge. Over ½ reported staff as involved in informal learning activities. Majority of informal learning from clients and co-workers, then informal networks, suppliers, industry associations etc. Study also made of highly innovative firms as compared to others. Innovative firms tend to be ‘older’ and has numbers of staff on the higher end of the SME definition (i.e. between 10 -19 employees). These firms more likely to have training plans plus some $$ in training budget, engaged in formal training & more informal learning activities tracked. NZ report about to be released & available from Paul via email.

All in a good overview with interesting tie in to Gemma Peircy's work on skill ecosytems.

Concurrent sessions begin with a session by Dr. Karen Vaughan & Marie Cameron from the NZ Council for Educational research presenting on an Ako Aotearoa national fund project on workplace assessments. In this presentation, useful ways to structure assessment of learning in the workplace was proposed. Began with a review of workplace learning, workplace assessment and ITOs roles in assessment. Most industry training occurs/assessed on job (8% off-job, 43% on job, 49% blended – usually >20% off-job).

Four principles distilled. Firstly, good assessment requires appropriately recruited, trained and professionally developed people (including for verifiers). Secondly, moderation contributes to the validity and reliability of assessment decisions. Next, the ITOs assessment structures and systems must support the learning process. Lastly, ITOs and workplaces have a clear purpose for assessment and they work together.

Next session from Department of Labour presented by Richard Manning from work by Vij Kooleya and Dr. Ram SriRamaratnam on ‘what will the labour market look like in the future? Overall employment growth rate of employment of 2.5% per annum from 2003-2008,lowered to 0.5% between 2008-2013 & 0.8 % between 2013 – 2018. semi-skilled and skilled trades record negative growths between 2008-2013. Growth in skill-associates & high skilled occupations. Total employment forecasted to increase from now to 2013 as recession eases. Potential areas of employment growth include forestry & logging, communications, health/community services etc. Decreases expected all forms of manufacturing and construction. Implications of aging workforce indicate slowly rising numbers of people retiring from the workforce over the next 10 years.

A busy morning bracketed with good conversations with various other people interested in discussing either my presentation yesterday or interested in details of the ‘first year apprentices’perspectives’project.