The 2020 Communications Trust aims to get ICT training included as an element of a major programme by the Ministry of Social Development to upskill jobseekers. It is approaching training providers who have bid for the $31 million Training for Work initiative (TFW),
TFW is being set up to provide short-term courses (13 weeks duration or less) that contribute directly to preparing people for work within the context of their region.
“A digital literacy component is an essential building block to employment,” the 2020 Trust says in a brief for potential providers. “Both government and business leaders recognise this as a priority. TFW provides an excellent opportunity to ensure everyone entering the workforce has a recognised digital skills qualification.”
The trust has taken over the KiwiSkills course originally brought to New Zealand by the NZ Computer Society – now the Institute of IT Professionals. This offers seven modules, which if all completed, give the student an International Computer Driving Licence – an internationally recognised qualification.
The 2020 Trust is offering the KiwiSkills ICDL certificate course to successful TFW providers at a discounted price of $175 + GST. “Normally it would cost up to $300 + GST for a candidate to be tested on seven KiwiSkills modules and receive the ICDL certificate,” says the brief. “We will also offer a free online KiwiSkills training resource for the modules. As an MSD-approved training overhead, successful providers would be able to claim back the KiwiSkills Certificate costs as part of their overheads.”
The request for proposal for the TFW project closed on April 3 and proposals from candidate providers for TFW in each region are currently being evaluated, with providers set to be chosen in early May, but the ability to claim overheads means the successful providers could still insert the KiwiSkills course despite not mentioning it in their proposals.
All training and testing for the KiwiSkills course is conducted online, minimising overheads for the training provider, the trust says.
Discussions have been opened with two potential Wellington providers and the trust has made contact with others, says chairperson Laurence Zwimpfer.
The brief points to a survey conducted by Knowledge Weavers NZ Research for the then NZCS three years ago which concluded that New Zealand is losing about $1.7 billion per year by not tackling digital literacy across the board. “Studies have shown that companies lose up to four weeks per year, per person, in lost productivity due to low digital skills,” says the trust’s brief.
It also points to the encouragement of digital literacy given by ministers Steven Joyce, in declaring it a priority in community education and BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly, who said late last year on the organisation’s website that digital capability is a key issue for jobs and the economy.
“KiwiSkills could (and possibly should) be part of every work preparation programme offered under TFW and other government-funded initiatives,” says the trust.
TFW is envisaged as delivering training in either a classroom or workplace setting.
“The target group for TFW services will be working age clients of Work and Income, including a mix of different benefit types,” says the RFP.