What a year!

What a year!

Last updated 15 September 2020
Last updated 15 September 2020
David Strong, Director for Reform of Vocational Education

David Strong, Director - Reform of Vocational Education

Last week I realised it had been a year since we established the RoVE Programme office and started gathering our team. So much has been done in what seems like a short time, particularly when you consider how big this change is. A large part of this work has also been done during one of New Zealand’s most challenging periods in dealing with the effects of CoVID-19. But when the Minister confirmed that continuing with RoVE was a vital part of New Zealand’s economic recovery and that some parts of the programme would be fast-tracked we doubled-down on our mahi.

This is what has been achieved since August last year.

  • On 1st April the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology was established, bringing together the 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics as subsidiaries into one organisation. At that time the Te Pūkenga Council and the regional ITP subsidiary boards were also announced. Over the last few months Stephen Town has been appointed as Te Pūkenga’s Chief Executive, their new executive team has been announced, and Hamilton confirmed as the head office location.
  • Announced that the first two pilot Centres of Vocational Excellence would be for the construction and primary sectors.
  • Established Taumata Aronui who are providing Māori community and employer perspectives on tertiary education, including vocational education.
  • Conducted extensive engagement, including public meetings and workshops with stakeholders around New Zealand.
  • The new Vocational Education and Training Reform Bill was passed with the legislation taking effect on the 1st of April this year.
  • After consulting with industry and representative groups, and with the assistance of the design group and reference group members, we have accelerated the process for creating six Workforce Development Councils. This included the formation of six Interim Establishment Boards who are currently engaging with their sectors on the next steps.
  • Completed the formation of 15 Interim Regionals Skills Leadership Groups.
  • Made substantial progress working with the Transitional Industry Training Organisations in developing their transition plans.
  • Completed the initial policy work to form the foundation of the new Unified Funding System, and the design stage is well underway.

We are well into what we are calling ‘Phase 2 - the Transition and Integration phase’, and with the support of our agency partners, sector stakeholders and wider industry there are many more milestones ahead. I am confident that this time next year our vocational education system will again look different. The six WDCs, 15 RSLGs and two pilot CoVEs will be functioning, the ITO transitions will have begun, the detailed design of the new UFS will be significantly progressed, as will the design of the New Zealand Qualifications System. And, Te Pūkenga will be a long way into the design of the future national network of provision - their operating model. 

I’d like to give a ‘shout out’ to a particularly progressive and highly focused group of senior industry leaders - the members of the WDC Interim Establishment Boards, and particularly their Chairs – Elena Trout, Dr Troy Coyle, Hinerangi Edwards, Alastair Carruthers, David Waters and Victoria Spackman. They and the Programme team secretariat have worked incredibly hard over the last two months to progress the establishment of the six WDCs. Their collaborative and positive approach has been inspiring, as has been their proactive approach to the challenges and opportunities as they arise. In many ways, they are the faces of the future vocational education system.

As Newt Gingrich said ‘perseverance is the hard work you do after the hard work you already did’. Successfully achieving change at this scale is hard work but we will all keep chipping away to create our new vocational education system.

Kia Kaha,