Plan Guidance for 2017 and 2018: What we want the engagement to focus on

Plan Guidance for 2017 and 2018: What we want the engagement to focus on

Last updated 16 November 2016
Last updated 11/16/2016

This page outlines what we want our engagement with you around Plan Guidance for 2017 and 2018 to focus on.

This includes improving outcomes for learners, improving economic and social outcomes, looking at poor employment outcomes in SAC 3 and above, and setting goals.

Improving outcomes for learners

Over the past several years, we have been concentrating on improving learner achievement. We now want a system that is more focused on improving the opportunities and career trajectories for learners.

Your plan should describe how your organisation is helping learners to gain the skills and the graduate attributes that will allow them to succeed in life and the workplace.

It should also describe how you will measure whether they are gaining these skills and attributes and the value of the education you are providing.

We want a system that supports all individuals to achieve their aspirations. This means there needs to be a particular focus on improving outcomes for Tertiary Education Strategy (TES) priority groups – Māori, Pasifika, at-risk young people, and adults with low literacy and numeracy skills. There is still a significant gap in participation, achievement and outcomes for these groups compared to the rest of the population, particularly at higher levels.

We want all tertiary education organisations (TEOs) to describe in plans how they can improve outcomes for these groups, given their role and mission within the system.

Improving economic and social outcomes for New Zealand

As the Tertiary Education Strategy (TES) notes, we want a more outward-facing tertiary education system that improves economic and social outcomes for New Zealand via strong links to industry, community, schooling and the global economy.

Tertiary education institutions (TEIs), in particular, should have open engagement with their communities, and this engagement should infuse their mission. You might demonstrate this kind of engagement by:

  • being responsive to labour market and skills needs – for example, by systematically seeking and responding to feedback from employers on the value and relevance of graduates’ skills
  • developing strategies for knowledge transfer to industry and the community
  • working with schools and communities to create smoother pathways into tertiary education
  • strengthening engagement with Māori and Pasifika stakeholders
  • exploring opportunities for growing international linkages.

We also expect TEOs to make a greater contribution to economic and social outcomes through focusing on in-demand skill and research needs:

  • in the high-growth sectors of the economy such as ICT, engineering and high-tech manufacturing 
  • in the "backbone" sectors of the economy, including agriculture and tourism and international education
  • to support greater economic activity in the ‘tradeables’ sector (such as supporting the skill needs identified in the Ministry of Primary Industries People Powered Report (PDF, 1.63 MB).
  • to meet future workforce needs in sectors facing significant change (such as health) 
  • that support economic development plans in regions such as Northland, the Bay of Plenty, South Auckland and Canterbury.

We continue to get better information about the outcomes of tertiary education and the current and future needs of the labour market, industries and the general economy. We expect you to use this information to assess how well your programmes are meeting the needs of the economy and society of New Zealand.

International education is an important enabler in strengthening New Zealand’s economic, cultural and social links with the world. New Zealand is a trading nation, and a key objective of the Government’s medium-term economic agenda is to shift resources to the tradeable part of the economy, in order to help earn our way in the world. Growth in the export value of international education is a significant contributor to this objective.

Shining a spotlight on poor employment outcomes in SAC 3 and above

The Ministry of Education (MoE) has been publishing national-level information about the labour market outcomes of graduates since January 2013, as part of its Employment Outcomes of Tertiary Education (EOTE) publication series.

In this investment round, we want to actively use this national-level EOTE data for the first time, to shift funding away from the poorest-performing areas of provision in SAC level 3 and above.

We will look through the national-level data to find SAC level 3 and above qualifications that seem to have very poor employment outcomes. Then we will talk to the TEOs that deliver those qualifications, to understand what’s behind the data and whether we should reduce our investment.

In some cases, there will be a good story behind the data, and we won’t want to reduce investment in the qualification.

In other cases, the reason for the poor employment outcome will be that the qualification is not valued by employers, or that there are too many graduates for the number of jobs available. In those cases, we will ask TEOs to commit to reducing their delivery over the plan period. As we have done previously, this investment may be moved elsewhere, either within the same TEO or to another TEO.

Setting challenging but achievable goals

Your plan should set challenging but achievable performance commitments. These commitments need to demonstrate how you will help learners to enrol and support them to succeed along educational pathways which will lead to better economic and social returns for them and society as a whole.

Over time, we want to develop the capability to better understand the links between learner characteristics and educational and career success. We want to use this information to target our investments and encourage TEOs to target their investments to improve the opportunities for learners.

Although this will take time, we are currently developing more learner-focused information based on a pipeline view of the system. This information will help us identify where the system can better reach out to, and improve results for, priority learner groups.

We want to identify the key momentum points/loss points along the educational pipeline for different learner groups so we can identify key ‘strategic investment opportunities’. That is, where we can get the greatest value from interventions aimed at improving outcomes for learners. We want to focus any additional investment opportunities in these areas.

As we develop this information, Investment Managers will be sharing this with you as we engage with your organisation on your plan.

Better information will enable students to make informed choices about what and where to study. In our last Plan Guidance, we signalled our expectation that TEOs would publish better information to help learners make good enrolment decisions.

We’ve done some work and talked with some of you, and developed a consistent set of useful information – the Key Information Set. We’ll be expecting all TEOs to adopt and publish this information on their websites. We’re running a pilot with a small number of organisations at the moment, and will be rolling this out to all TEOs early next year.

Go to next section: Plan basics