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Why and how the APAC region is focusing on workforce upskilling

2 November 2021 | Author: Martin Draper
Stephen Town, Chris Hipkins, Raghav Gupta and Dr Margarita Pavlova are speaking at the APAC TVET summit,

The Covid pandemic has seen a massive disruption to workforce upskilling and retraining throughout the Asia Pacific region, and the only solution to ensure the sustainability of workforces is a collaborative approach from government, industry and educators.

Finding this solution led to Skills Consulting Group joining with leaders from some of New Zealand’s top vocational education institutions to offer a free forum for the Asia Pacific region – the virtual APAC Technical & Vocational Education (TVET) Forum on 5 and 12 November.

What is the APAC TVET FORUM theme?

With a theme of ‘bringing us together’, the forum is co-sponsored by Education New Zealand and Te Pūkenga (New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology) and will share information about skill building and innovation.

Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, will speak at the forum alongside Stephen Town, Chief Executive of Te Pūkenga, about the importance of working together now to ensure that issues around skills development and workforce innovation are prioritised and future proofed.

What is the APAC TVET FORUM all about?

Bridget Dennis, Skills Consulting Group’s Vice President Global Markets, says the Covid pandemic has changed the world in many ways and as we emerge, we will be emerging into a new normal, not returning to the old. The time is now, she says, to be innovative.

“This forum will bring together some of the most innovative thinking in the world in terms of skills development and will allow all of us in the APAC region to learn from each other, understand what role we need to play to enable successful skills development, and to apply this in our own context.

“We know on-job learning is widely acknowledged as the most cost-effective form of learning. By providing workers with ways to build skills and by providing pathways into the world of work and careers, business and industry can build the skills that workforces need to succeed.”

Who is speaking at the APAC TVET FORUM?

Jim So, the Regional Development Manager, Asia for Skills Consulting Group has been instrumental in the creation of the forum and says that as well as speeches from the New Zealand Minister of Education, there will be attendance from global recognised institutions such as Adecco, Coursera, Hewlett-Packard, and the International Labour Organization and UNESCO-UNEVOC.

“It’s this ability to really bring the vocational education community in the Asia Pacific region together that is so exciting, and so important,” says So. “To be able to establish a community across APAC, that is focused on sharing best practice, collaboration and common goals. It will hold the key to really building from here.”

Te Pūkenga Chief Executive, Stephen Town, says that vocational education plays a critical role in building a thriving future.

“I look forward to coming together with other vocational education professionals to discuss our challenges, because these issues do face us all – industries, educators and governments alike – and we will all be better prepared to take on these challenges with the insights we share,” says Town.

Grant McPherson from Education New Zealand could not agree more, saying New Zealand’s strengths in vocational education show it has much to offer in terms of insights and expertise – the ability to show real leadership in this area throughout the APAC region.

“With the impact that Covid is currently having worldwide, it’s important to focus on addressing skills shortages by building and strengthening vocational expertise,” says McPherson. “With New Zealand’s increasing emphasis on applied learning and work ready graduates, our applied vocational sector has much to offer.”

When is the APAC TVET FORUM?

The free event will be held in a state-of-the-art virtual environment across two Fridays: Friday 5 November and Friday 12 November with networking opportunities and additional sessions included on 9, 10 November, to further the sharing of ideas.

For the full list of presenters at the APAC TVET forum, a detailed schedule and more information on how to register, visit

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