The Reform of Vocational Education and the construction sector
The Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) aims to create a more unified and sustainable vocational education system that delivers the skills that learners, employers and communities need to thrive. Learn more about the reform and its impact on the construction sector.
This webinar was recorded on 28 October 2021. It includes speakers from Te Pūkenga, Waihanga Ara Rau Construction and Infrastructure Workforce Development Council, Fulton Hogan and ConCOVE.
This video is a direct recording of the webinar, which includes footage of the speakers as they talk. It also features slides and video footage interspersed throughout the webinar.
Gordon Harcourt: Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Nau mai, nau mai haere mai ko Gordon Harcourt ahau. Kia ora, welcome, I'm Gordon Harcourt. I'm the Communications Lead for The Accord.
Welcome to the latest in The Accord's series of webinars towards high performance. I'm joining you from lockdown Auckland, and there's quite a bit of construction activity around me, so apologies if there's the old sound of a nail gun or drop saw, and yes, the tree stump grinder out the front has finished, thankfully.
Today we're talking about the current reform of vocational education, that's R-O-V-E, the RoVE, and its impact on the construction sector. Now this is a core part of The Accords people development work stream. Now the RoVE aims to create a more unified and sustainable vocational education system that delivers the skills that learners, employers and communities need to thrive. Now it'll have a stronger focus on employers and delivering the skills they need and ensuring greater consistency in education across the country.
We'll cover a range of stuff this afternoon, an update on the status, the next steps in the reform, how employers can engage in the reform, what you need to know about Te Pūkenga and the new Construction Workforce Development Council, Te Pūkenga is the single entity now running the 16 Polytechnics and Institute of Technology. More on that very shortly.
Some excellent speakers joining us from Te Pūkenga, Waihanga Ara Rau, the Construction and Infrastructure Workforce Development Council, Fulton Hogan, and ConCoVE, we'll explain what that is eventually. Before we hear from Te Pūkenga though, a brief reminder of what The Accord is and what it's all about.
Logo: Construction Sector Accord.
Construction workers on various sites.
Gordon Harcourt: Construction touches us all in some way, and its success is crucial for a better Aotearoa. The Accord was launched in April, 2019 to try and address the many issues affecting the sector.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at Construction Sector Accord launch in 2019.
Jacinda Ardern: The construction sector Accord, is the first year in creating a strong partnership between government and industry.
Text on screen: Accord Goals – increase productivity, raise capability, improve resilience, restore confidence, pride and reputation.
Gordon Harcourt: And the partnership is to create a high-performing construction sector for a better New Zealand. The Accord has big goals, increased productivity, raise capability, improve resilience, restore confidence, pride, and reputation.
Construction workers on various sites.
Gordon Harcourt: The Accord's work is about driving long-term culture change, from increasing diversity in construction, to reducing carbon emissions. We want to see better business performance, better leadership, better health and safety culture, including mental health, fairer risk allocation. We want to see a safer, more successful, more sustainable construction sector. By working together, we can achieve that vision.
Logo: Construction Sector Accord.
Gordon Harcourt: So that is The Accord. Our first guest today is Stephen Town, Chief Executive of Te Pūkenga. Kia ora Stephen.
Stephen Town: Thanks very much for having me. It's great to be here, to be part of this webinar. Thank you.
Gordon Harcourt: Now, Te Pūkenga, it was set up by the government in April. It brings together the 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechs around the country into a single organisation. And from 2023, our all learners will be enrolled at Te Pūkenga. Once fully established, it will be new Zealand's largest tertiary provider. So Stephen, where are things at with the RoVE, the reform of vocational education?
Stephen Town: Yes I can. So the reforms have got seven major parts to them and the creation of Te Pūkenga is one of those seven reforms. And in recent months, the Workforce Development Councils have been established alongside the Regional Skills Leadership Groups. And we have lifted and shifted four transitional industry training organisations into Te Pūkenga, and one of those is the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation. At the beginning of this week, we have released an operating model for engagement right across our sector, and the biggest, arguably the biggest part of the reform's the unified funding system, that work stream is in play now, and we're expecting that funding system to be introduced from January, 2023.
Gordon Harcourt: And why was this change needed?
Stephen Town: The change came about as part of the existing government's desire to have a stronger system of vocational education and training for New Zealand, and one that was integrated right across all of its parts. The government concluded that the current Polytechnic and industry training arrangements were not meeting new Zealand's present and future skill needs, and there were large numbers of underserved learners not being adequately supported, and particularly in the Polytechnic network, the financial distress has been visible for a couple of decades.
Gordon Harcourt: So what are some of Te Pūkenga's key goals with the reform?
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Te Pūkenga's goals:
- Build a collaborative, integrated vocational education system
- Lift quality and consistency and offer more flexible opportunities for learners
- Improve outcomes for Māori, Pasifika and disabled learners.
Stephen Town: Yes, Te Pūkenga has some really important goals and some of them are to build a new integrated national system, which is a collaborative one and not a competitive one. The thinking behind the national scale and reach, is that we can lift quality and consistency and introduce more flexible opportunities for learners and apprentices. And we've also been charged with becoming an effective Te Tiriti partner and to substantially improve the outcomes for Maori learners, Pasifika learners, and disabled learners.
Gordon Harcourt: Why do you think the reform is important for the construction sector in particular?
Stephen Town: The construction sector is one of the most important building blocks for New Zealand's future, and having the right people, in the right place, at the right time is crucial. And that is part of the objectives of the formation of Te Pūkenga, to be able to create more flexibility for learners around whether they're on 2 campus or on the job or online and doing combinations of those things. The Regional Skills Leadership Groups, working with the Infrastructure Commission, are charged with producing workforce plans for their region and for the whole country. And there's never been a more important time to grow the numbers of people involved in the construction industry, and it's a great opportunity to make sure that we've got graduates with the right skills and the right ambition and a commitment to lifelong learning, as well as enjoying their time in the construction industry and taking advantage of the opportunities that it offers.
Gordon Harcourt: Kia ora Stephen.
Gordon Harcourt: Next up, Warwick Quinn, Deputy Chief Executive of Employer Journey and Experience at Te Pūkenga. He has a long background in our sector. Kia ora Warwick.
Warwick Quinn: It's my pleasure, and thank you for the invite. Construction is dear to my heart and I've been in the property game my entire life, so I have a real passion for this stuff, and taking on this opportunity at Te Pūkenga to make it a much stronger and vibrant training system that suits construction and other sectors, is core to my heart. So thank you for the invite, pleasure to be here.
Gordon Harcourt: So Warwick, as you just mentioned, you're very interested in the sector, you've spent the last few years as Chief Executive of the BCITO, Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation, and before that you ran Master Builders. So the role of employers in this reform, how can they engage in this new vocational education system?
Warwick Quinn: There are several ways employers engage, first and foremost, they need to make sure that they have a voice in the Workforce Development Councils, because it's through those councils that the qualifications and skill standards they are looking for are made, along with their long-term workforce planning needs, they're also developed through the Workforce Development Councils. They also need to engage with the Regional Skills Leadership Groups, to ensure that the local needs are also reflected, both how things are delivered and the skill needs locally. The Regional Skills Leadership Groups are organised and run through NB and the WDCs are run through the Tertiary Education Commission. So there's two key avenues there.
The third key avenue is through Te Pūkenga, the reforms of vocational education want to ensure that employers and industry has a strong voice in a new system, and so we will be establishing within Te Pūkenga, that voice for all employees, including construction. And we're currently consulting on our operating model and how that will work, and we're proposing that we structure ourselves along the lines of the existing Workforce Development Councils, which are based on the vocational education pathways. So those six mechanisms are how we're thinking we will develop structurally to ensure there's continuity of delivery. And of course, within each of those, there will be sector groups that represented make up those industries.
Gordon Harcourt: How important are employers to this reform? Why is it important for the construction sector in particular to get behind the reform?
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- 550,000 businesses in New Zealand
- 165,000 businesses have staff
- only 15-20% of those use the vocational training system to train their staff
Warwick Quinn: It's absolutely critical that employers use the vocational education training system to maximise the benefits for them. And at the moment there's about 550,000 enterprises in New Zealand at any one time, of that, about 165,000 have staff. So the balance are one man bands with no staff. However, of that 165,000, only about 15 to 20% use the vocational education and training system to train their staff at any one time, yet 100% of firms train their staff.
So there's something not quite working for all firms with the current system, whereby they're not engaging with the VET system to train and up skill their workforce. Now if we look at how the current system is structured, there are effectively 27 entities all competing for that learner, you've got 16 Polytechs all competing with themselves, and with industry training organisations of which there are 11, and then there's another 400 odd private training establishments in the mix.
This competitive model that we've set up, effectively means we're not concentrating where the core effort needs to be. And one of the things that we are doing with these reforms from the Te Pūkenga perspective is we want to ensure that employers are viewed as part of the teaching network within our system. So we view employers as a partner in that teaching delivery, after all 60% of all learners in the vocational education and training system are in the workplace and they're taught by 25,000 employers, yet the employers have never been given any formal support in the way of ensuring their teaching is as good as it possibly can be. And we all know that the best tennis player doesn't necessarily make the best coach, just because I can play tennis, which I can't, but if I could, doesn't necessarily mean I can teach you how to play tennis, that imparting of skills and knowledge is a skill set in its own right, that's pedagogy effectively. But we leave firms to their own devices, we've never actually supported them in that role.
We will do that in Te Pūkenga, we consider employers as an extension of our teaching network, every construction site, every dairy shed, every hair salon, we view as a classroom. So by supporting the employer to train and teach well, means they get a more productive employee who progress well through their programme or their work or their apprenticeship. And as a result, they have a happy workforce, literally work, all the things that come from someone who's skilled. Warwick Quinn: But there's two parts to that, firstly, it's imparting the technical skills in a way that that particular learner can work and understand well, and the other is managing cultural diversity. New Zealand is becoming much more diverse, and so as a result of that, we need both teaching environments in the classroom and in the workplace that accommodates that very diverse nature that we're dealing with. Maori, Pacific, disabled people, Asians, women in construction particularly struggle, so creating a support network that helps employers deal with those will help us ensure the quality of teaching and learning is improved in the construction sector, and all employers are much more aligned with the vocational system because it's meeting their needs.
Gordon Harcourt: Now this one, dear to your heart, what do the changes mean for on the job training, obviously a big part of apprenticeships in our sector?
Warwick Quinn: Yeah, it's interesting when you talk to people about these reforms, people who do on job learning and training are worried it's all going to go to the campus. People on the campus are all worried it's going to go to work based learning. Both groups are worried everything's going to be digital. Digital's worried it's all going to go to either work based learning or campus learning. So there's this fear that one mode of delivery is going to take over the other and that's simply not true. Because we are now no longer competing with each other, in other words the Polytechs aren't competing with the ITOs, et cetera, or amongst themselves, we have an ability to concentrate on what the learner and the employee needs.
By developing a national network that's agnostic to the mode of delivery, we can put together a package of delivery that best suits that learner and best suits that employer. So a one size fits all approach, we know doesn't work, and so by being able to access work based remote or digital learning and classroom learning and put that blend together in the best way that is going to maximise that learning and the best effect for the employer, that's what we can now do. Whereas currently, we really have work based learning pitted in competition against campus learning, which is pitted against digital learning. So we're all fighting for that mode of delivery, when we know the blend of delivery is more important because it connects best with either the learner or the employer, that's the opportunity that we have in front of us now.
Gordon Harcourt: So what do you see as the future of the construction sector in terms of vocational training?
Warwick Quinn: Yes, construction is, as a sector, it doesn't just cover, of course, trades. A large number are in that level three, level four, level five part of the construction sector, but the sector needs skills right across the board. It needs professional skills, it needs administrative skills, it need labour skills, it needs trade skills. We've got to make sure that we have a system that's well-connected and we understand the needs right through the spectrum. So Workforce Development Councils in conjunction with Regional Skills Leadership Groups, will hopefully be able to provide us with a picture and a forecast of what those skill needs might be. In other words, we'll have something more concrete on which to go. Now we have everybody having a crack at workforce development skill needs, I mean, everybody does it.
We actually have heaps of information and data that says we need this number of electricians and this number of carpenters and this number of engineers, et cetera. And we just need to consolidate that in a way that forms a really good view, and it will always change, but you'll be able to have a consolidated view. Because BRANZ does it, BCITO does it, MBIE does it, other agencies do it, what we haven't had in the past is an ability to have a coordinated response. Now that we have Te Pūkenga set up, we have Workforce Development Councils set up and Regional Skills Leader Groups set up, hopefully we can have a coordinated response that's nationally able to be delivered and regionally identified as well. Where in the past, we've never been able to do that.
Through that process, TEC has a funding lever, they can decide to turn the tap on, the funding tap on, or the funding tap off, depending on where the skills are needed, so we don't overtrain. We don't want 250,000 carpenters in New Zealand, when there's 250,000 people in the system, in the education system, but we want enough. So the Workforce Development Councils in conjunction with industry, will help us determine the numbers of where they are, that's a really huge opportunity that we have in front of us.
Gordon Harcourt: Kia ora Warwick, thank you.
Gordon Harcourt: Next up, Elena Trout, Co-Chair of the Waihanga Ara Rau Construction and Infrastructure Workforce Development Council. Kia ora Elena.
Elena Trout: Tena koutou katoa, I'm delighted to be here.
Gordon Harcourt: Now one of the most highly anticipated parts of this reform is the establishment of six Workforce Development Councils, giving industries greater leadership and influence in vocational education. Waihanga Ara Rau, the Construction Council is focused on ensuring the construction education and training system provides opportunities for all people in our workforce. Now Elena, tell us more.
Elena Trout: The function and duties are actually outlined in the Order in Council, at the front end of the Order in Council, but primarily, we're there to work with our industries to develop and maintain a strategic view of the skills in their industries that are required now and into the future. So that's really important. And we're also there to set standards, develop the qualifications and help shape the curriculum of vocational education, to ensure they meet the needs of the employers and the learners and others involved in the sector.
A final point is that we're there to endorse programmes and encourage clear career pathways. And that allows employees to be provided with good advice and for the council to contribute to a well functioning labour market. The other thing about the councils is that there is embedded, a strong purpose across all five councils, and we share some very clear goals. And one of them is to honour Te Tiriti and support the Crown Maori relationships. We will collaborate with each other, we are focusing with industry front and centre, and we're also leading change and taking action to transition things like the new ways of working, acknowledging the technology changes, the global challenges, as well as the challenges that the current government have put in front of us around low emissions and climate resilient New Zealand.
Gordon Harcourt: What progress has been made so far to get the council up and running?
Elena Trout: The council was set up through the Order in Council some months ago, but the actual council was not formed until early July and council members were appointed at that time. And since then, we've been busy recruiting our Chief Executive, Philip Aldridge was appointed and he comes from an education background and he started on October the 18th. We've also been very involved in the appointment of key staff and Philip's lead team are now in place, the Wellington and Auckland offices are in place as well. And the Auckland office notwithstanding, due to COVID, we can't access it, is ready for occupation.
The other thing that we have been involved in and the other councils chairs and councillors have been involved in as well, is the setting up of the back office systems and shared services entity, [inaudible 00:23:07] Limited. [inaudible 00:23:08] has been stood up and it's responsible for providing student services to all councils. Our establishment plan and funding agreement was signed off by the Minister and Tertiary Education Commission sometime in September, so that was really great, and the intention is that we are now ready to go.
Gordon Harcourt: And what are some of your immediate priorities?
Elena Trout: Well, clearly there's a need for us to build collaboration across the WDCs and the other parties involved in the vocational education. And so that really means that Philip and his team will be setting the culture and the vision of what WDC is achieving. We are a new organisation and to a certain extent, you can think of us as really a standing up of a new entity. We're clearly conscious of the industry and the challenges that our sector is currently facing, so we want to minimise the disruption to industry by developing a cohesive partnership and engagement model with them. We're ramping up the business in terms of our obligations of setting standards and developing qualifications.
We've got over 3000 standards that were transferred to us and something in the order of 170 qualifications, of those qualifications we inherited, 30 are overdue for review. So there's lots of work to do in that regard. And the other thing that we inherited from the training organisations was the remaining work around the COVID-19 response projects. There are four that were novated to Waihanga Ara Rau, and these programmes, some are nearly complete, but others will actually be completed sometime next year. So there's quite a lot of activity that we have to get on with, and Philip is going to be engaging across the organisation to ensure that the way that we conduct ourselves is consistent with the other WDCs.
Gordon Harcourt: What do you hope to achieve for the construction sector?
Elena Trout: There's lots of aspiration and expectations of our council, and one of them is that we aim for a workforce that has staff with the right skills at the right time, that will benefit New Zealand Inc. In essence, future-proofing the work force and also be prepared for the challenges ahead. We have an industry that has a lot of demand on it, both from a labour force demand, as well as other demands, and we need to be conscious of that. So that means we have a wide range of people that we need to engage with, and that includes people that probably haven't been previously well served in the education sector, such as Maori, Pasifika, disabled and women, so we'll be reaching out to them to actually fill the pipeline. So ideally this will result in businesses being more effective and efficient, while growing the skill of the workforce. So the outcome really is to having people who enjoy having the relevant qualifications that our council will develop and monitor, which will not only be positive for the entire sector, but also for the individuals and their companies that they work for.
Gordon Harcourt: Kia ora, really looking forward to seeing your progress.
Gordon Harcourt: Next up, Graeme Johnson, Chief Executive of Fulton Hogan. Kia ora Graeme.
Graeme Johnson: Thanks for having me and happy to speak briefly about the subject, which is a very close to my heart, passionate about training and development of people.
Gordon Harcourt: So Fulton Hogan, one of the country's largest infrastructure businesses, more than 4,800 employees across New Zealand. Graeme, really keen to get your take on all this and what you want to see from it. Firstly, how many apprentices do you currently have and how important is workforce development to you?
Graeme Johnson: Currently in Fulton Hogan we have over 200 apprentices enrolled in training, that is in addition to another several hundred people that are in formal training in our front line workforce. Development is essential for a workforce, we have to have people operating safely, productively and effectively out there on site. And I think our industry presents a wonderful opportunity for people to enter with just a little bit of a start point and actually train on the job for very long, meaningful career in providing infrastructure for their community. So a lot of those skills are absolutely able to be acquired as they progress those careers, with a balance of on job experiential training and off job additional skills acquisition through more formal processes.
Gordon Harcourt: For you, what are the immediate needs in terms of vocational education in construction, across the country?
Graeme Johnson: In the general terms, there's a resource constraint in many, if not all roles right across the industry. So with a focus on vocational training we could take everyone from specialist operators, through to civil carpenters, right through the organisation where we're looking for good people. In terms of immediate needs for the industry overall, I would say there's a clear need for the country to address Three Waters reform, and the intentions around investment in renewals and new capital going into water, wastewater and storm water systems. There's a very clear shortage of those particular types of trades and technical staff, and we need to address that if we want to be able to give affect to recovering some of the infrastructure deficit in that regard.
Gordon Harcourt: And what do you want to see out of this reform?
Graeme Johnson: I think the objectives of the RoVE programme are sound and are hopefully achieved. What the industry would like to see for starters is some real clarity around the structure and accountabilities of the various functions that have been established under RoVE. So we understand Te Pūkenga, Workforce Development Councils, Regional Skills Leadership Groups, how does that all work together, and where are the key points of engagement and interaction that industry can seek out, to make sure that we have a voice and we are able to effectively articulate the demand side employer-based requirements for skills and training that we want to see from this reform.
I'd also call out that I think the reform has a great opportunity to more clearly link and articulate the value of our sector to creating the national balance sheet for New Zealand. So funding should really strongly correlate to the value of the sector to New Zealand for the long term, beyond just the immediate employment or contribution to GDP in any one year. What we're involved with is creating long lived assets in infrastructure and construction that pay a dividend back to the country over a very long period of time. And somehow we need to create a model that's cognizant of that, and ensures that funding is appropriately available. Once we have the funding, then we can design and deploy the right sort of training that gives us a fantastic jumping off point for people to enter our sector and create lifelong careers in infrastructure for the benefit of the country and their communities.
Gordon Harcourt: So Graeme, now Fulton Hogan has partnered with the Ministry of Social Development, Civil Contractors New Zealand, oh, and the Construction Sector Accord, to develop the Infrastructure Skill Centre. The pilot ran in Christchurch earlier this year, I followed some pretty wonderful stories of the participants. The next one's now up and running in Palmerston North, I believe. Graeme, this is clearly a bit of a passion project for you, tell us more about it and your goals for it.
Graeme Johnson: The Infrastructure Skill Centre, is currently in a pilot programme phase, that is effectively a six week intensive programme for new entrants to the sector to experience both in-classroom and onsite exposure to a variety of skills and undertakings in the civil infrastructure space. It has been pulled together by Fulton Hogan in close collaboration with Construction Sector Accord, Civil Contractors New Zealand, and very well supported by the Ministry of Social Development. And effectively is looking to trial the nature of training and experiences that really deliver effective outcomes for learners and translates to an effective start point for employers to be able to pick up a new person and understand that they are going to not only be an effective part of a team, but have had exposure to entry-level skills and training around tools and equipment. And very importantly, have a consistent exposure to health and safety, environmental, and quality matters, which are so important to us in our sector.
The programme has been designed to provide access for multiple employers to select candidates and offer them employment before they enter the intensive six week programme. During the programme, candidates are provided with pastoral care and paid a wage, and then the employment translates immediately after the course.
We feel that the balance of classroom and field based learning is something that is so far delivering the goods for our people. So they are experiencing theory, and then translating that to practical reality through construction activities onsite. The training is delivered by experienced and competent people that have a background in the industry. And quite simply, the design of the programme and the course was related to us starting with questioning our foremen, supervisors, and engineers, about what would the day one attributes be if they could have that in a new entrant, what would the day one attributes be and reverse engineering that into the programme.
The pilot that has initially run in Christchurch is now subject to a longitudinal study, so we can access both the candidates that went through the programme and the employers thereafter, to understand how did the course work for them and how's employment going thereafter. And we have another pilot programme scheduled for November this year in Palmerston North. The concept was to really hone in on the value of intensive offsite training as a beneficial start point for new entrants to the sector. And we see that thereafter, people should be effective, safe, productive on site, and able to enter more a traditional trades apprenticeship type approach to ongoing skills acquisition on the job. We feel that there could be some merit in the Infrastructure Skill Centre being tuned in to specific ongoing micro credentialing or skills acquisition.
You could tailor it specifically towards a water sector focus and remove some of the general elements and focus in on matters around water, wastewater and storm water. So health and safety protocols related to that, safe excavation and trenching, service location, and also sterilisation protocols for working around potable water and that sort of thing. And we see it as really just in the trial phase at the moment, to get out there and learn by doing. So we apply a few of these pilots, we understand how things have gone, we get feedback from candidates and the employers, and then we can share some of those learnings around the industry to see if there's an ability to scale this up further and deploy it, maybe intensify it and intensify the investment around facilities in the major centres, or keep it as an agile and flexible regionalized approach where you could run these sorts of programmes periodically as required in the provinces, to deal with workforce issues, to create that kind of pool of new entrants to the sector.
Currently with the funding and support from Ministry of Social Development, we are working on specific connection between cases that they are managing and employment. However, we see this new entrant programme as being expandable to cover multiple points of entry to the sector, including school leavers, and those that might be transitioning through from other sectors to ours. One thing we really need to work out is how might this sort of approach be scalable and sustainable nationally in terms of funding, and we're keen to engage with others on conversations on this. What I would extend is that we've got out there and given it a crack for starters, but our desire is that this is a programme that's accessible and available to industry. So if you're keen to get involved, by all means, reach out and we can connect you with our team that are involved with deploying the pilot programmes. And yeah, you're more than welcome to engage with us on that and work out if you'd like to be involved, or you can learn something from it to take forward in your own areas.
Gordon Harcourt: Kia ora Graeme. Look, I'm really looking forward to seeing that concept take off across the industry.
Gordon Harcourt: Finally today, Bharti Raniga, General Manager of ConCoVE, explain what that is shortly. Kia ora Bharti.
Bharti Raniga: Thank you so much. It's great to be here. Love the opportunity and look forward to having this chat.
Gordon Harcourt: RoVE is Reform of Vocational Education, a CoVE is a Centre of Vocational Excellence and ConCoVE, connects and aligns industry learners and vocational education to support career pathways within the construction sector. Now Bharti, tell us more about ConCoVE and how you fit in with the RoVE, the reform.
Bharti Raniga: Sure. So the purpose of setting up the CoVEs, which are the Centre of Vocational Excellence's, via the RoVE, which is the Reform of Vocational Education, is that the CoVEs jobs are to bring together Te Pūkenga skills training providers, the Workforce Development Councils, industry experts, and leading researchers, and bringing all those groups together so that we can really understand, and from the construction sector, which is the ConCoVE, ConCoVEs perspective, really understand what the industry issues are in terms of training and a skilled workforce. Our job is to bring those entities together in terms of providing the right research around the educational framework, the training framework, work with them so that they get the best practise, advice and guidance from ConCoVE, to meet those workforce productivity, meet sustainability targets in the future, have the right training programmes and skilled candidates out there that have the correct career progression to fulfil the needs of the industry. And that's essentially why the Centres of Vocational Excellence's we're put together, and construction, CoVE has to work closely with those organisations to achieve that outcome together.
Gordon Harcourt: What work are you currently doing with the industry?
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- Establishing research survey protocols
- Modelling destructive technologies for the construction sector
- Developing sustainable best practice guidelines
- Reviewing entry-level training programmes.
Bharti Raniga: We are at the moment working with case studies and programmes of work with various organisations. We have three industry reference groups, there's the Maori, Pasifika and Women's Advisory Groups. We've been meeting every month for the last six plus months now. So we are at present working on research programmes that we are very close to rolling out, with various members of our advisory groups. We will work with their companies that they're representing, if we get the opportunity to do that, and we will run case studies and research programmes and surveys to understand what the issues are, the gaps are, and we will test out solutions that organisations are coming up with themselves. For example, better training programmes in entry level training for our construction workers, which is one of the studies we're doing with Fulton Hogan and Ministry of Social Development at the moment, and there's various others that we are stacking up similarly.
Gordon Harcourt: Tell us about some of the key projects underway?
Bharti Raniga: So once we have our research survey protocols established and rolled out, we will be embarking on quite key topics, such as modelling disruptive technologies for the construction sector, forecasting those technology requirements related to skills. We are working on creating sustainable best practice guidelines, that's a big piece of work that's going to be kicking off. We are looking at the review of entry level training programmes, which is linked into the study I talked about earlier with Fulton Hogan. Those are some of the projects that are coming up in 2022 for us, that we'll be working on.
Gordon Harcourt: How do you think ConCoVE and your work can benefit the construction sector?
Bharti Raniga: So I look at it in this way, that the sector has constantly not received, potentially not received all the requirements that it's always needed in terms of a clearly productive workforce or workers that are able to be employed while they're training, or have a career because you've got issues with being able to have sustainable training frameworks, or issues such as being a female in the industry and not having the right support and pastoral care that you require to have progression in your life. So those are the issues that we are dealing with and looking at very closely, because of the way we are set up within an industry, representing industry, having our reference groups and talking to them all the time, we are looking and addressing the gaps that are being raised by industry.
And I think that is the most important way or the most effective way of ensuring that those issues are clearly addressed. So when we do come up with solutions, we are testing those solutions with our industry counterparts, and we will roll those out as our strategy, as ConCoVEs strategy. And also linking in with WDC, linking in with other organisations and Te Pūkenga, we want to ensure that we are also keeping close to industry, plus training institutes, to be that interface as well.
Gordon Harcourt: Kia ora Bharti, and kia ora to all our speakers today, some excellent stuff in there. Thank you once again for watching today, hope you found it useful, you learned something from it. If you've got questions, please do email The Accord, the email address is on the screen there, or visit our website. And please join us for the next edition of Towards High Performance. Hei konā mai, mauri ora.
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Improving vocational education for learners and employers
The new vocational education system has a stronger focus on employers – delivering the skills they need, providing more support for their employees and ensuring greater consistency in education across the country.
As part of the Construction Sector Accord's Towards High Performance webinar series, experts from government and industry discussed the reform and the next steps for vocational training in the construction sector.
Speakers covered a variety of key issues, including:
- What you need to know about Te Pūkenga and its goals
- The Waihanga Ara Rau Construction and Infrastructure Workforce Development Council
- How employers can engage in the new vocational education sector
- The role of ConCoVE and its education innovation projects.
Stephen Town – Chief Executive, Te Pūkenga
Te Pūkenga was set up by the government in April and brings together 16 institutes of technology and polytechnics around the country into one organisation. From 2023, all learners will be enrolled at Te Pūkenga, and once fully established it will be New Zealand's largest tertiary provider. Stephen discussed the organisation’s goals and the next steps in the national transition.
Warwick Quinn – Deputy Chief Executive Employer Journey and Experience, Te Pūkenga
As the former Chief Executive of the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO), Warwick joins Te Pūkenga to help support employers and their role in developing a more unified vocational education system. Warwick talked about the impact and outcomes of the reform for employers, and how they can engage in the new education system.
Elena Trout – Co-Chair, Waihanga Ara Rau Construction and Infrastructure Workforce Development Council
One of the most highly anticipated components of the reform is the establishment of six Workforce Development Councils that will give industries greater leadership and influence across vocational education. Elena explained Waihanga Ara Rau's role and its focus on ensuring the construction education and training system provides opportunities for all people in the sector's workforce.
Bharti Raniga – General Manager, ConCOVE
A COVE is a Centre of Vocational Excellence and is designed to drive innovation and excellence in teaching and learning, while improving links to industry and communities. ConCOVE connects and aligns industry, learners and vocational education to support career pathways within the construction sector. Bharti talked about the centre's key projects and its current work within the industry.