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New Zealand launches initiative to prepare employees for future of work

The New Zealand Government had recently launched the Aotearoa New Zealand Skills Pledge, according to a recent press release.

Supporting business and staff

This initiative aims to double the time spent on employee training and re-skilling that will help both the staff and the organisations they work for prepare for the rapidly changing future of work.

The initiative launched by the Prime Minister and her Business Advisory Council (BAC) commits signatories to doubling investment in re-skilling and training hours by 2025.

The signatories will also report annually on the progress.

The Prime Minister said, “A key pillar of this Coalition Government’s economic plan is to reform skills and trade training to address long-term labour shortages and productivity gaps in the economy, to make sure we are prepared for ongoing automation and the future of work.”

She added that they are doing what they can to support business to train and retrain staff through programmes like Mana in Mahi and the Fees Free policy for post-secondary education.

Who are involved?

Achieving this is not possible without the time and expertise of the BAC members. Working with them makes it possible to build a productive, sustainable economy that works for everyone and is fit for the 21st Century.

Most BAC companies have agreed to sign the pledge as well as some of the country’s largest employers.

Moreover, the Prime Minister has also asked State Services Commission to see which Government departments are best placed to sign up.

The report is unique because the impacts of automation from a task, job, sector and region perspective can be seen, which can be invaluable knowledge for policy makers and businesses.

The Pledge is the first recommendation from the A Future that Works: Harnessing Automation for a More Productive and Skilled New Zealand report developed by BAC and a consulting firm.

Many of the other recommendations relevant to Government work are already under way.

Preparing for what lies ahead

Although New Zealand’s economy was reportedly faring well at the moment with solid GDP growth and low unemployment, there were significant challenges over the horizon.

Together with a predicted downturn in global growth in the next few years and increasing overseas scepticism on free trade and globalism, the issue of automation would have a major effect on the future of work in New Zealand.

While the scope of the changes brought about by automation were hard to predict, there was a need to re-examine the way Kiwis were educated.

There would need to be an adaption to prepare young New Zealanders for a future where they do not know the kind of jobs they would be going into.

Furthermore, there is a need to retrain an existing workforce out of jobs that would no longer exist in 20 years.

Education system should be looked at not in subject terms but in skills terms, problem solving, coding, and resilience as these are the type of soft skills and competencies that will prepare the work for the future.

These are the kinds of skills that will have universal value regardless of what direction the workforce heads in the future.

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