The Tāmaki Makaurau region employment levels continue to rise, but at a more limited pace, as labour market challenges compromise the ability for businesses to find the levels and types of talent they need.
Professional services remain the key driver of higher employment, with sizable contributions from:
- retail trade.
Growth in employment is being enabled by more younger people entering the workforce, particularly the 15 to 19 age groups.
The highest pay increases in decades are attracting more people into employment, but the pool of people remaining is shallow and our youth struggle to enter the labour market. The workforce needs access to the training to enable their future success. Training needs vary based on a range of factors including:
- current education level
- employer and industry
- geographic location
- personal demand.
Kaimahi and ākonga will not undergo training unless it is relevant, accessible, and delivered in a mode that aligns with their abilities and cultural backgrounds.
We have heard from industry and kaimahi that the current concentration of training provision in the existing locations does not work for everyone. Tertiary providers are mainly clustered on the isthmus, fringe West and South. Auckland’s traffic and public transport does not advantage learners let alone including the costs of travel. The Rodney district may benefit from some form of Tertiary hub as well as the Franklin district. With limited public transport options and increased costs of taking personal vehicles, there is a clear demand for relevant training to be delivered across the region. Many areas of Tāmaki Makaurau have no access to vocational education provision and return travel of more than 100km in a day is not uncommon.
The ‘traditional’ education models are no longer serving our ākonga well. They want the option to study on-the-job while earning, and our kaimahi are seeking recognition of their current skills before committing to long qualifications. The options of micro-credentials are appealing for those seeking ‘bite-sized’ learning opportunities and to staircase to a formal qualification where possible. There is hesitancy from some employers to undergo accreditation for their in-house training, however a standardised approach will benefit kaimahi if/when they make career changes.
The Tāmaki Makaurau RSLG continues to be an advocate for a range of tertiary education options in our region, while recognising that tertiary-level education may not be desired by all our people. Where there is a clear need for training to be developed and delivered in the region, the RSLG hopes that the Tertiary Education Commission takes this advice into consideration when developing the Supplementary Plan Guidance for 2024.