Education and Training as a Social Science: Some Empirical Evidence in the Rosebank Business Precinct of Auckland New Zealand
Tertiary institutions should seek continuous feedback from industries to keep track of the needs of businesses to provide education and training. Academics should stay in touch with businesses by networking and consulting. Holland and De Cieri (2006) refer to theories of child learning (pedagogy) to inform their understanding of andragogy, the study of adult learning. Adult learners would be continuous learners and would move in and out of formal education according to individual needs or life circumstances, job requirements or career development. In designing programmes and up-grading curricula, these are important factors to bear in mind so that programmes “cater” for these learners as well.
This study was financed by Auckland City Council focussing on Auckland’s Rosebank Business Precinct (ARBP). The surrounding communities, particularly Mäori, Pacific peoples and recent migrants, experience disparities in employment. Our research questions were:
• Is there a skills match between the present-day workforce and actual business needs over the medium term?
• What can these data tell us about Rosebank’s trajectory as a skilled business cluster and about its future workforce requirements?
• What education and training will be necessary for these organisations to maintain their competitive advantage and profit margins?
The target population were the 500-600 businesses operating on Rosebank Road. A total of 529 businesses were identified. Interviews with 102 companies with a 36-question questionnaire were conducted. The sampling frame was owner-managers (senior, non-shareholding managers). Of the respondent firms, 68.75% had vacancies for up to 3 months and 31.24% vacancies for 6 months.
This paper highlights areas identified in the ARBP for developing programmes and curricula for tertiary institutions to provide employable students with the right knowledge, skills and attributes (KSAs) to grow existing ventures. A fine balance must be struck between human and organisational needs. In the analysis and discussion we point out what education or training is necessary for the ARBP to provide greater efficiencies and subsequent improvement to their profit levels by current and future employees entering the workforce; well “equipped” employees with knowledge and skills to add value in their organisations. Recommendations, future perspectives and conclusions form the last part of this paper
Keywords: Education and Training Needs, Businesses, Programmes, Curricula
Dr. Andries J. Du Plessis
Academic Group Leader & Senior Lecturer, Unitec Business School, Unitec New Zealand
Prof. Howard Frederick
Professor, Unitec Business School, Unitec New Zealand