Regional Skills Leadership Groups

Regional Skills Leadership Groups

Last updated 24 January 2020
Last updated 24 January 2020

These would provide advice about the skills needs of their regions to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), workforce development councils, and local vocational education providers.

Progress on Regional Skills Leadership Groups (RSLGs)

Since September, a team from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has been meeting with people across the country, to help shape with the RSLGs will look like and how they will operate.  These meetings and workshops have been held in Waikato, Taranaki, Te Tairāwhiti, the West Coast, Canterbury, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Wairarapa, Whangarei, Auckland and Otago. All remaining regional visits are scheduled for early this year.

It has been encouraging to hear that participants agree with some of the key features of the RSLG proposal, in particular:

  • RSLGs will build on successful existing regional labour market planning and will not duplicate. So where groups already exist and meet Cabinet’s criteria, we will endeavour to recognise those groups as RSLGs.
  • The RSLGs will be led by the regions, for the regions, and so we expect that RSLGs will primarily be made up of community and regional employers, along with iwi/Māori. Central government’s role is to provide support and ongoing resourcing.

Common themes

There have been some common themes raised across the regions:

Getting the right mix

It is becoming really clear that making sure each RSLG accurately represents stakeholders across geographic, sector, and demographic groups may be very challenging, particularly as some groups are not already well represented in regional conversations.

In light of this valuable feedback, we are considering the following:

  • Establish sub-groups or forums to sit under the RSLG, which would help RSLGS to have input from a more diverse range of voices without having to have all parties represented within the RSLG. These could be reference groups on a particular issue or sub-groups for particular geographic areas with unique challenges, strengths and opportunities.
  • Have minimum consultation requirements in place so RSLGs actively engage with a diverse range of groups when developing their Regional Workforce Plans. We will also be working to make sure iwi have a voice on RSLGs.
  • Require RSLGs to consider particular sub-regions. The Terms of Reference and appointment letters for the RSLGs could set out what the groups need to consider for their Workforce Development Plan.

Avoiding duplication

Another key theme is that the role and functions of RSLGs needs to be defined, and it will be particularly important to be clear how the RSLG will work with other existing regional groups and activities.


Creating a meaningful Regional Workforce Plan is a huge task, and will need participation and contribution from a diverse range of a region’s labour market participants. Important stakeholders may not have the time or willingness to engage because they are already busy dealing with the day-to-day pressures of running their business.

To help address this issue, you have told us that RSLGs will need to be resourced sufficiently.

Next steps

We’re preparing proposals for each region outlining how each RSLG could work, based on what we’ve learned from our regional engagements. We will continue to test these draft proposals with the regions (including through some further visits) and will use them to inform the bespoke, concrete proposals that will be provided to Ministers at the end of February 2020. We are still planning to establish the groups in mid-2020.

Get involved

If you have any thoughts, suggestions or questions about RSLGs, contact the team by emailing

Find out more:

Read the July 2019 Cabinet paper seeking agreement to establish RSLGs.

Read more information on the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website.