Skills Strategy of benefit to Pacific workforce

Wednesday 30 April 2008, 2:58PM
By Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban

Pacific Island Affairs Minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban has welcomed the release of the New Zealand Skills Strategy discussion document, saying this will benefit Pacific workers.

"Our Pacific peoples have made great advances under the Labour-led government with unemployment falling from 12.2 in December 1999 to 4.7 per cent in December 2007, and education and income levels improving.

"New Zealand's Pacific population is growing faster than the average population and will become a considerably larger proportion of the workforce. Our future prosperity depends on a highly skilled workforce and to achieve this we need to target our existing workforce to improve skills and productivity.

"Through the Pacific Economic Action Plan and the Pacific Women's Economic Development Plan our government is committed to lifting the economic potential and prosperity of Pacific people by moving them into higher income and higher skilled jobs," Laban said.

The priority actions outlined in the Skills Strategy discussion document complements the work of the plans by improving works skills and development in the workplace leading to a skilled and versatile Pacific workforce.

The proposals in the discussion document draw on the experience of Business New Zealand, the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, the Industry Training Federation and key government departments.

"Consultation with workers, employers, and training and education providers is now taking place to work towards a final Skills Strategy Action Plan. I would encourage our Pacific peoples to make a contribution to ensure that the action plan meets the needs of our Pacific communities," said Laban.

Further information about the discussion document released by Tertiary Education Ministers Pete Hodgson and Maryan Street is available at www.skillsstrategy.govt.nz , which also includes information about consultation meetings running till early June.