Future of Work Tripartite Forum champions skills shift programme

  • Hon Grant Robertson

The Future of Work Tripartite Forum’s first meeting saw a productive discussion between business, unions and government on the challenges and opportunities of the changing world of work, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said today.

The Forum endorsed a Manufacturers’ Network pilot programme that addresses the skills shift needed in that sector to meet the challenges of automation and artificial intelligence.

“We are keen to see how this could transform the manufacturing industry and use it as a blueprint for others. Skills shortages and the pace at which the nature of work is changing are huge issues facing New Zealand,” Grant Robertson says.

“The Forum’s key purpose is to investigate and champion initiatives to address this,” Grant Robertson says.

The Forum brings together the three key partners in the economy - government, business and unions – to improve the use of technology, create more productive workplaces, and improve the skills and training of our workers.

Business NZ chief executive Kirk Hope and Council of Trade Unions (CTU) president Richard Wagstaff join Grant Robertson in leading the Forum.

"Change is happening rapidly in the work environment. Jobs and working arrangements, economies, markets and sectors are all undergoing transformation. Understanding and preparing for change will be essential for our future success," Business NZ chief executive Kirk Hope says.

"It’s crucial we all work together to create a good future of work for us all, and leave no one behind. This Forum is a place where all of our interests can be put on the table and taken into account," CTU president Richard Wagstaff says.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon and KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy also attended and shared their experiences leading ‘High Performance, High Engagement’ workplaces where executives and workers collaborate to harness opportunities from the changing nature of work.

“We know we can create better workplaces both in terms of productivity and in terms of employee experience. We have a great opportunity to learn from our best practices so they become the norm, not the exception,” Richard Wagstaff says.

“Not all of the future is knowable in advance, but we can gain insights into ways of working to provide better outcomes for everyone involved, with no-one left behind.  We can build on best practice in the workplace as we know it today. The Future of Work Tripartite Forum gives us the opportunity to reflect on how we can maintain our place as one of the best economies and societies in the world,” Kirk Hope says.

“To achieve our plan to future proof the economy and lift the living standards of all New Zealanders, the Coalition Government recognises the need to work differently. We know we cannot achieve this vision on our own,” Grant Robertson says.

“This collaborative approach will be critical to ensuring we adapt effectively to changes in technology or processes that our businesses and workers rely on,” Grant Robertson says.

The Forum was established through Budget 2018. It will feed into existing Coalition Government and private sector work programmes across four key themes:

  • Just Transitions
  • Learning for Life
  • Technology
  • Workplace Productivity

Members plan to meet again within the next two months.