Labour market insights

This chapter provides a brief overview of the areas covered by the Bay of Plenty Regional Skills Leadership Groups (RSLG’s) advice to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). The full advice paper, including a list of all stakeholders consulted, is available at Bay of Plenty TEC Advice 2023.

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Tourism Bay of Plenty

Throughout this year, the RSLG has examined the tertiary education needs of several key sectors in the region, including a high-performing primary industry that benefited from strong global demand for food during the pandemic. The region also boasts significant employment in construction, health, and professional services, as well as a small yet high-performing tech sector.

In April of this year, the RSLG provided advice to the TEC on the assessment of key labour market skills shortages across these sectors and some others (full list noted below) that warrant future investment in tertiary training and education. In developing this advice, the RSLG consulted with over 65 stakeholders at a feedback hui held over February-March. Stakeholders ranged from:

  • employers
  • industry associations
  • tertiary providers
  • Iwi and hapū organisations
  • community groups
  • local and central government.

While the 6 Workforce Development Councils (WDC) each provided national sector-specific advice, the RSLG offered a regional sector lens to tertiary education advice to inform the TEC of the skills needed to help close labour market gaps.

Workforce Development Councils (WDC)(external link) — Tertiary Education Commission 

The “regional workforce outlook” aims to provide the tertiary education system, as well as other partners, with a reference or outline of what each RSLG considers a labour market area of priority or importance. It identifies strategically important workforce needs for the region, any emerging trends or opportunities that impact the workforce, and any perennial mismatches in labour supply and demand.

On the following page is an outline of the advice provided by RSLG.

Sector specific

The advice covered labour market gaps and critical long-term shortages (high, mid, and low-level skill shortages – some examples provided below) for the following key sectors:

  • Horticulture: High-level skills include laboratory technicians, and low- level skills include pickers and packers.
  • Forestry and wood processing: Mid-level skills includes machine operators.
  • Aquaculture: Mid-level skills includes skippers and marine crane operators.
  • Technology: High-level skills includes business analysts and cybersecurity professionals.
  • Construction and infrastructure: High-level skills includes engineers, and low-level skills include drainlayers.
  • Professional services: High-level skills includes finance/business analyst, accountants, functional analyst, project management and change managers.

Key themes

The advice also covered several key cross-cutting themes:

  • literacy, numeracy, and digital literacy
  • wrap-around pastoral care
  • incremental training through micro-credentials
  • cross sector skills/qualifications.

Workforce Development Councils alignment

Below is a list of areas where the RSLG and WDC’s align:

Muka Tangata

The importance of pastoral care to support pre-employment and new employees in primary industry sectors, as well as those wanting to step into leadership. Leadership training, preferably short courses, is necessary.


Agreement with WC that digital literacy skills are crucial as the key step at the front end of the staircase. Focus needs to be placed on this point to ensure a future pipeline for digital competency workers as automation impacts over the next 10 years.

Waihanga Ara Rau

Further funding is needed in several areas of sectors like construction and infrastructure for re-employment programmes for career changers, on-the-job training, and practical work-based apprenticeships, as well as pastoral care and basic life skills support like literacy and numeracy.

Hanga Aro Rau

There is alignment around some technology-centric skills training, particularly standardised pathways to develop computer numerical control skills and standardised pathways to develop robotic welding skills, as well as digital skills that enable workers to engage with automation, digital systems, and data collection.

Ringa Hora

The RSLG supports the efforts of Ringa Hora to streamline entry points into service sector roles and agrees that greater support is needed for entry-level management training. The focus should be on targeting workers currently employed in the service sector to improve the overall capability of the workforce.

The above list outlines the alignment between the RSLG and 5 of the 6 WDC’s. The RSLG is yet to identify areas of alignment with Toitū te Waiora.