As part of the Reform of Vocational Education, HITO held a workshop to gather industry feedback on Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) on October 21. HITO’s Board, Industry Advisory Panel and hairdressing, barbering and beauty therapy representatives from around the country were invited to attend the meeting in Wellington.

WDCs will replace the standard and qualification setting roles currently performed by Industry Training Organisations (ITOs). It is proposed that there will be between 4 and 7 WDCs covering the industries represented by the 11 ITOs and other new industries.

There are 6 industry groupings covered by the Vocational Pathways model being considered; Construction and Infrastructure, Manufacturing and Technology, Primary Industries, Creative Industries, Service Industries and Social and Community Services. Within this model, Hairdressing, Barbering and Beauty currently sit under the Service Industries grouping.

Workshop results

In general it was agreed that there were components of all three Vocational Pathways that were relevant – from the wellbeing and health components of Social and Community Services, the need for excellent customer service and people skills as part of Service Industries, to the creativity, innovation, design, fashion, and film components of Creative Industries.
The consensus for Hairdressing and Barbering was to be part of the Creative Vocational Pathway, but some wanted explicit reference to professional, service and/or trades added.

The reasons given for this choice included:
• The skills listed as relevant for the Creative Vocational Pathway resonated, particularly the specific skills of design, interpreting and developing other people’s ideas, communication skills, listening, helping present an idea, and telling a story.
• It was felt that aligning with other creative industries would future proof the hairdressing and barbering industries. Potential employees would be more likely to be attracted to these industries and they would have a higher level of recognition and profile that would help to future proof the industries as they adapt and change over the years.
• It was felt that aligning Hair and Beauty with others in the creative grouping including film, media, fashion and photography would be great for networking and business opportunities.
• It was felt the industries would have a stronger voice within a Creative industry grouping.

Beauty Therapy industry members expressed a preference for Social and Community Services as this group contains Nursing, Paramedical, Medical. The desire was for better linkage and pathways to degrees and post-graduate programmes. It was pointed out that the WDCs only cover lower level vocational programmes, not degrees and that a different avenue for getting degrees in the Beauty Therapy would need to be taken. As Hairdressing and Beauty are combined in a number of businesses, it was felt that have separate WDCs for Hairdressing and Beauty would not be beneficial at this time. In addition, a number of the beauty qualifications outside of Beauty Therapy (e.g. Nail technology, Makeup Artistry) sit well within the Creative category.

A Government official attended the meeting and hear feedback on the proposed groupings. He also answered questions on the reform.

Questions and answers

Q: Where did the Government get their information about our industries? Do you understand our industry? Why was there not wider industry stakeholder engagement?
A: Public meetings were held and were advertised on the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) website.

Q: Will a WDC representing a larger number of employers get more funding and hence more representation?
A: The funding has not yet been decided, but a larger WDC would not necessarily get more funding.

Q: How will we be represented on a WDC?
A: The Minister will appoint an establishment board and CEs will be appointed and they will then get industry representatives across the broad portfolio. Given some WDCs may have 75 or more industries to represent, getting individual industry representation will be difficult.

Q: Will learners be in shops fulltime and go to polytechnic for block courses or be in polytech full time and come out for industry training?
A: It is likely that the student will be in polytechnic and polytechnic people will bring the student to the workplace – however this is still to be designed and the intention is to try not to give up what is working well when the change is implemented.

Q: Why change the current apprenticeship system when it is working so well? How will this benefit us and the taxpayer?
A: The current system is not joined up and polytechnics are not integrated enough with workplaces. The business cycle puts a lot of pressure on the system with employers not employing in the downturn and providers not being able to attract students in the good times. The changes are designed to improve the responsiveness of providers to industry so that when there is an economic downturn and students don’t have the opportunity to learn on the job, they will be learning relevant skills at the provider.

Q: Will the smaller WDCs be set up first as a pilot so if they don’t work it has less impact on the system?
A: No, the ones that are going first are the ones that have a big impact on the economy – Construction and Primary.

Q: What is the percentage of funding going to be compared to polytechnic?
A: The funding has not been decided and is being worked on. It should be decided in 3 years time.

Q: What is in it for employers to take on an apprentice?
A: Incentives are being explored but will not be decided for another 3 years.

Q: What if I live a in small region that does not have a polytechnic?
A: This will be worked through with the nearest provider to your region.

Q: Will the apprenticeship model change, and will this mean more off job training days for my apprentice?
A: The apprenticeship model will be determined by the newly formed WDC. We anticipate that this will remain the same.

Q: How will you ensure that the full-time learner will meet the needs of my business?
A: No clear answer given.

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