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National – idiots on education

Written By: - Date published: 11:45 am, July 1st, 2013 - 34 comments
Categories: education, Hekia parata, jobs, national, tertiary education - Tags: , , ,

National governments always bungle education. So when sometimes they realise the mess that they’ve made, I really don’t know whether to laugh or cry:

Parata: tertiary focus skewed

New Zealand is in danger of experiencing a shortage of skilled tradespeople with so much focus on channelling students into university and academia pathways, Education Minister Hekia Parata said in Queenstown at the weekend.

Yes. Tertiary education should provide a broad range of options. We shouldn’t be trying to channel everyone into universities (and “bums on seats” funding models don’t help at all).

“It’s almost cheaper to get a lawyer than a plumber these days,” Parata told delegates…

Apparently this is what it takes to get a Nat to recognise the problem.

The Government was working hard to channel non-academic students into vocational trade and service pathways, she said.

No. The last Nat government was the one that gutted the traditional apprenticeship system. Here’s an EPMU press release from 2005:

National scrapped apprenticeships, says union

… Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union assistant national secretary Rosalie Webster says that it was a National-led government that effectively wiped out the old apprenticeship system in the 1990s, leading to the huge trades skills-crisis facing New Zealand today.

“The National Party, when it was last in power, decided that ‘the free market’ would deliver all the industry training New Zealand needed,” she said.

“It effectively dismantled the tried-and-true apprenticeship scheme that had trained generations of tradespeople, leaving an industry training deficit which is now causing industries major problems.”

Labour introduced the very successful modern apprenticeships programme to try and address the problem. This current National government cut the funding:

National temporarily stirs from slumber on apprenticeships

One announcement from an under pressure government does not make up for four years of inaction on apprenticeships and skills and training, says Grant Robertson.

“National has finally worked out that youth unemployment and the drop in the number of apprentices is a problem. The thing is it’s a problem of their making. And the usual National Party tinkering will not solve the problem.

“The drop in the number of modern apprentices under National has been stark. After the funding from Labour’s 2008 Budget ran out, the number of apprenticeships dropped by nearly 20%. The number of industry trainees in the same period dropped by 37%. “National’s hands-off approach has meant that many young people have fallen out of the system. …

So yes, we have a problem with not enough support for trades education and apprenticeships. And it’s good that Parata has noticed, I guess. But it’s a problem that is the making of National governments past and present, and they will need to completely rethink their blinkered approach to education in order to fix it.


34 comments on “National – idiots on education”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    I’m surprised you get any work done with the amount of posts you churn out, r0b.

    • fender 1.1

      Multi-talented, multitasking legend is our Rob!

    • r0b 1.2

      I write at night, or in the early morning, and schedule ahead. You may notice that I’m not exactly active in comments these days!

  2. National hated the traditional apprenticeship system because the apprentices were taught about the importance of trade unions at the same time they were taught about the trade. They also have this unnerving trust in the market which is not shaken by such things as reality or evidence.

    • BM 2.1

      What a load of shit.
      I was an apprentice mechanic for the post office years ago, apart from signing a bit of paper at the beginning of my apprenticeship to say I was now in a union the only other contact I ever had with my union was when we were all getting made redundant.

      • logie97 2.1.1

        Negotiated your own terms and conditions and pay rises each year as well no doubt …

        • BM

          Got made redundant right at the end of my apprenticeship, so not a lot of negotiation during my duration a the PO

          • Te Reo Putake

            Bet you didn’t take the union negotiated redundancy cheque on principle.

            • BM

              Nothing to do with the Union.
              If anything they were a complete pain in the arse, everyone was happy to move on and take their redundancy pay except for one whinging pom who decided to bitch and moan because that’s just what poms do.
              Because one individual(who was happy to get paid out and retire but for some reason wanted to be a moaning wanker) the union chucked a spanner in the works and every one else got fucked around for another 6 months before it was finally sorted.

              • Te Reo Putake

                “Nothing to do with the Union.”

                Apart from them negotiating it, that is. And them, according to you, managing to get a further six months work before the axe fell. Can I suggest the maoning wanchor wasn’t the pom (nice racism, btw!), but, er, you?

                • QoT

                  Oh dear, TRP, do you think BM is one of those people who’s spent a lifetime leeching off the gains made by unions, which have been passed on to him by employers trying to undercut the collective agreement, but he’s convinced himself he got it all fair and square?

                  There are many unpleasant words for people like that.

              • Kevin Welsh

                Yeah, I found the Union a complete pain the in the arse while I was an apprentice as well BM.

                Those fuckers sticking their nose in and informing me of my rights after I committed a sackable offence (stupidity of youth – and kept my apprenticeship after the FOC intervened); ensuring I got my pay rises after completing block courses and finishing correspondence modules; negotiating a fair redundancy package after the Auckland Sun was shut down – and then organising job interviews in Australia for those interested in moving to Melbourne or Sydney; to name just a few instances…

          • Draco T Bastard

            I recall the union negotiating the wage rises that we got every year.

      • weka 2.1.2

        What a load of shit.
        I was an apprentice mechanic for the post office years ago, apart from signing a bit of paper at the beginning of my apprenticeship to say I was now in a union the only other contact I ever had with my union was when we were all getting made redundant.

        And that one experience speaks for all NZ apprentices how?

        • BM

          Government department, if there was piss all union input there I severely doubt there was much going on any where else especially within the private sector.

          Never once went to a union meeting or met a union rep and that wasn’t because I disliked unions either, at the time I wouldn’t have even known what a union was.

          • Te Reo Putake

            “Never once went to a union meeting or met a union rep and that wasn’t because I disliked unions either, at the time I wouldn’t have even known what a union was.”

            So your youthful ignorance and intellectual apathy has carried on to the present day. How delightful.

            • BM

              National hated the traditional apprenticeship system because the apprentices were taught about the importance of trade unions at the same time they were taught about the trade

              Just pointing out what nonsense that comment was, who knows maybe if my union rep hadn’t been so completely useless, I may have had a slightly different view point of the union.

              • Well BM you and I must have worked in completely different industries.

                Or dimensions.

                • BM

                  Which was?

                  • I spent three years working as a fitters mate in a food factory. The Unions were well organised there and the tradesment taught the apprentices as much about the trade as about the necessity of unions.

                    • BM

                      Was that in NZ?, honestly I don’t think I ever heard the word union ever mentioned by anyone during my time working at the PO.

                      Interesting, not doubting your experience it just differs significantly from mine.

                    • David H

                      Same in the meat works, and any big factory, also most govt jobs were highly unionised too.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      honestly I don’t think I ever heard the word union ever mentioned by anyone during my time working at the PO.

                      Then I suspect your memory’s as good as John Key’s.

                      I’ll tell you what actually happened:
                      The union negotiated all wage increases and working conditions
                      They had multiple union reps available to talk to and who were quite active
                      Then they negotiated the redundancy package

                      The Post Office Union was quite active.

                      In all this time I suspect you ignored all the things that was being told to you by the union and never went to a union meeting. All of which comes back to the old saw you only get back what you put in and you obviously didn’t put anything in.

          • fender

            “Never once went to a union meeting or met a union rep.”

            Apprentices were not able to join a union till their apprenticeship was complete (when I was one), but after that I joined and enjoyed the yearly meeting at the Lower Hutt Town Hall, fond memories.

            • BM

              Ok, I’m certain I signed a bit of paper when I started.
              Then again there was about 50 forms that I had to signed, in all honesty they could have slipped in a form selling me off as a slave to some Arabs and I would have still signed.

              One good thing was that I also signed up to some super scheme so got paid out on that when I got made redundant.
              It was like
              Me: what’s all this extra money?
              Older Person: it’s super
              Me: It sure is, woo hoo extra money.

              • fender

                Obviously you can’t be taken too seriously with your selective memory, and your residing in an alternative dimension.

              • framu

                so in short – you dont know what your talking about

            • Draco T Bastard

              I joined the union when I started at the PO, C&M branch as a trainee.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    “It’s almost cheaper to get a lawyer than a plumber these days,” Parata told delegates…

    After watching all the research my nephew makes around building laws and the fact that he’s had four years of training and ongoing skills updates to go with it I honestly don’t see a problem with that. Just because you’ve gone to university doesn’t mean that you automatically have a higher education or higher skills.

  4. Darel Hall 4

    In my view National didn’t gut the traditional apprenticeship system.

    Apprentices declined by 41% from a peak of 28,383 in 1987 to 16,711 in 1992. National’s action, the Industry Training Act was a response not a cause of this change (page 9 http://www.itf.org.nz/assets/Publications/Literacy-Publications/ITF-Funding-History.pdf).

    Apprenticeships have never gone away. The regulation that defined an apprentice has. That means it is difficult to count. I did some work in the mid-2000s and I calculated that the proportion of young people in structured training for a level 4 qualification (ie a basic trade certificate) in industry training alone (ie excluding institutional pathways such as Polytechnics) was just under what it was in the late 1980s. This was the peak of the old system before apprenticeships as a pathway declined rapidly due primarily to the decline in the public sector workforce and the government’s assumed responsibility to train people in this way as well as growth in training pathways in industries that weren’t part of the old order.

    The modern apprenticeships programme was successful in putting more time around young people that need support and was a great device for elevating the importance of trades training. Helen Clark and her Ministers did a good job there.

    I haven’t kept up with the policy and funding, but Modern Apprentices were a good investment.

  5. millsy 5

    I keep hearing about apprenticeships being chopped in 1991/92, but seeing as I was dealing with the transition from primary to intermediate school at the time, I didn’t really know what was going on. What exactly replaced it? If was an 18 year old wanting to be an electrical apprentice back in 1992/93, what would have awaited me?

    I know I probably would have been shoved into the polytechnic system with a big student loan to be ticked off for a few unit standards, but what else?

  6. captain hook 6

    Hi rOb.
    Keep up the good work.
    dont let the trolls put you off.
    I wouldn’t even bother replying to them.
    They are typical tories in that they want to play the man and not the ball.
    anyway the point is that National think they know more than the teaching profession and have become schizophrenic trying to claim that the education system is broken while our kids are right up there in comparison with any other country in the world.
    As for Heka Paratai.
    She cant even reed.
    Everything must be explained to her in simple english and not to fast.
    She only understands the cost of luxury items and anything else is a mystery.

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