Dr Roy Sharp, TEC

Funding cuts for ITOs?

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) this week announced changes to funding policy for industry training organisations (ITOs), after revealing average completion rates were only 31 percent.

NZPA reports that the commission has been reviewing ITOs and has begun a programme of work aimed at improving their educational and financial performance.

“This process has identified areas that require improvement and we are modifying funding rules governing ITOs’ use of funding, improving the systems that track trainees, and strengthening the TEC’s own monitoring processes,” said TEC chief executive Roy Sharp.

New policies to take effect from January 1 next year include placing annual caps on funding for each trainee, clarifying the need for clear evidence of trainee achievement, and ensuring that ITOs are funded at rates that reflected the actual progress of trainees.

From March 2011 the TEC will introduce the Industry Training Register, giving near real time reporting of trainee progression.

Mr Joyce said modelling of the new rules and current conditions showed they could result in annual funding to ITOs decreasing by as much as $20 million in 2011.

“This reduction in funding is in addition to a short-term decline in demand for industry training as a result of current economic conditions,” Mr Joyce said.

“The TEC is currently estimating that ITOs will under-spend their allowable budget by around $16 million in 2010.”

He said the TEC had identified poor practices under the existing rules, including some examples where funding was claimed for trainees who were not actively engaged in training.

Mr Joyce said the changes would bring ITOs into closer alignment with other taxpayer-funded tertiary institutions, and would have no impact on the funding for modern apprenticeship schemes.

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