Industries facing critical skills shortages are sending warning bells about the Government’s proposed changes to the vocational sector.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins has unveiled major proposals to amalgamate polytechnics and workplace training into a single government-owned skills and technology institute.
But industry training organisations - which run specialist programmes for everything from construction workers to baristas to boat builders - say they are the wrong target.
The services they offer would come under the institute.
The Marine ITO says the plans would be "devastating for the industry”.
Executive director Peter Busfield says the training and support they offer is so specialised, polytechs would struggle to do it.
The Industry Training Federation, which represents all 11 ITOs, says for every $1 million invested in the tertiary sector, ITO-arranged training qualifies 300 skilled workers. By comparison, polytechnics currently qualify 50.
Chief Executive Josh Williams says the focus should be on reforming work-based training, not putting it all under one umbrella organisation.
A six-week consultation period is now underway.