Progress report: December 2022

Te Mahere Ohumahi ā-Rohe o Te Tauihu o Te Waka a Māui - Nelson-Tasman Regional Workforce Plan 6 monthly progress update: December 2022.

Message from the RSLG co-chairs

When we launched the inaugural Nelson Tasman Regional Workforce Plan in July, we said that it was just the beginning, as we work collectively across our region to identify and deliver actions and initiatives for our region’s workforce to allow our economy, our businesses, and most importantly, our people to thrive. We started with a focus on two of our industry sectors (aquaculture and construction) and two of our demographic groups (rangatahi and older workers), reflecting the Te Tauihu Intergenerational Strategy comment that ‘transformative change often starts small, but it is strategic and enduring’.

For anyone who was sceptical, we hope you are starting to see the value of the RSLG having a strategic view across our region’s workforce challenges and opportunities. We are now being recognised as an important part of Nelson Tasman’s strategic regional development landscape across every level of our community.  We are being sought for our views, and invited into strategic conversations, enabling us to make our regional voice heard nationally. By informing, collaborating, and influencing to drive action as identified in our plan, in only 6 months we are already starting to see outcomes. These outcomes range from increased awareness and understanding of our labour market, assisted by great media coverage, to supporting connections resulting in $210k enabling AQNZ’s leadership in implementing a national workforce strategy, to creating a regional collaboration contributing to industry transformation plans for the tourism/visitor sector. It’s great to see things beginning to grow.  We will continue gathering our regional economic, industry and community plans into a wider framework, working collectively with the Workforce Development Councils and education and vocational training providers, to ensure what lands in our region is right for our region.

Justin Carter, Iwi Co-Chair and Ali Boswijk, Co-Chair - Nelson Tasman Regional Skills Leadership Group

Progress on actions from the regional workforce plan

The Nelson Tasman 2022 Regional Workforce Plan (RWP) 2022 sets out actions we will take to respond to our local labour market challenges and opportunities for 2 key sectors and 2 demographic groups. This update covers the actions that are the Group’s current focus. Other actions set out in the RWP are scheduled in future years.

The Nelson Tasman 2022 Regional Workforce Plan

Action: Aquaculture

Partner with government and industry to develop and deliver a National Aquaculture Workforce Strategy and an agreed Workforce Action Plan to implement that strategy.

Key milestone: 

Endorsed by all parties in the working group, the National Aquaculture Workforce Strategy was then approved by the AQNZ Board and published on the AQNZ website.  In October 2022 the strategy was presented at the National Aquaculture Conference held in Nelson, that was attended by more than 450 delegates over the two-day event.  Funding from MBIE SWEP to support the implementation of the Aquaculture Workforce Plan has meant that the plan and the related RSLG aquaculture actions are now underway.

Anticipated outcome: 

A National Aquaculture Workforce Action Plan is implemented with a new collective governance structure.  This will result in increased understanding of industry workforce requirements now and in the future; awareness of industry roles and career pathways; access to training and education for those roles; and an increase in the contribution of aquaculture to the regional and national economy.

Action: Support national collaboration and co-ordination with other RSLG that have regional aquaculture workforces.

Key milestones:

  • Collaboration and information sharing to support co-ordinated action and advice from RSLG with a regional aquaculture workforce has been established.
  • Regular monthly meetings have also been established between Murihiku/Southland RSLG Regional Lead; Nelson Tasman RSLG Regional Lead; MBIE SWEP; MBIE Just Transitions; Muka Tangata WDC; and AQNZ regarding opportunities for future investment.

Anticipated outcome: 

The RSLG Aquaculture Collective will facilitate collaboration and co-ordination between RSLG who have a significant regional aquaculture industry.  Shared information will enable better understanding of future workforce requirements regionally and nationally.  Co-ordinated national advice for workforce training and development will support industry productivity.

Action: Older Workers

Collaborate to develop and deliver projects that support employers to attract and retain older workers, including showcasing successful examples.

Key milestones:

November 2022 - A collaboration, led by the Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Business Assist and the Nelson City Council, and supported by the RSLG, submitted an RFP responding to an opportunity by the Office for Seniors to implement a pilot supporting older entrepreneurs.  Notification of the outcome is expected in December 2022.

Anticipated outcome: 

The pilot aims to support older workers in entrepreneurial activity.  It will gather valuable insights for the RSLG to inform the desired outcome of attracting and retaining older workers in the workforce as the workforce ages.

Action: The RSLG will lead a central and local government subgroup to collaborate in supporting older workers to participate in our region’s economy.

Key milestones:

  • July 2022 - The RSLG Older Workers subgroup was established, and a Terms of Reference formally agreed by the RSLG.
  • September 2022 - A draft forward agenda was agreed by the Older Workers Subgroup with monthly meetings agreed and planned.

Anticipated outcome: 

The subgroup’s activity is aimed at creating an implementation plan across stakeholders to increase older workers participation in the region’s economy.

Action: Construction

Be advocates for developing skills pipelines that support significant capital projects.

Key milestones:

  • July 2022 - A collective regional bid for a Te Tauihu Job and Skills Hub was submitted to MSD National Office supported by RSLG/Iwi/ WDC/NRDA/Chambers of Commerce/Te Pukenga.
  • October 2022 – The proposal was reshaped after discussion with MSD to focus on seeking the specific MSD Jobs and Skills Hub product for the Nelson Tasman region. Outcome pending.

Anticipated outcome: 

A coordinated regional approach to construction workforce skills development and a collective regional response to construction procurement, in line with the objective of ensuring intergenerational benefits as outlined in the Te Tauihu Intergenerational Strategy.

Action: Rangatahi

Work alongside and support regional youth-based organisations, such as the Nelson Tasman Youth Workers Collective, to collate better data on our rangatahi.

Key milestones:

Established a working relationship with the Nelson Tasman Youth Workers Collective. RSLG provided letters of support for funding applications by Nelson Tasman Youth workers Collective. Aim to collect data and maintain engagement.

Anticipated outcome: 

Through engagement with rangatahi, collect better data to support their transition from education to the workforce.

Highlights from the last 6 months

Our regional workforce plan has had strong and ongoing media coverage, strengthening understanding of rslg and our region’s labour market challenges and opportunities

The launch of our inaugural regional workforce plan has generated regional conversation by communities and employers, supported by ongoing media coverage for the RSLG.  Key messages have included

  • Our regional economic and workforce challenges of a low productivity rate and a low median wage combined with high house prices creating housing affordability issues
  • Our construction sector workforce shortfall (3,200 workers now, predicted to be 4,000 in 2023), highlighting the need for a skills pipeline to develop our regional construction workforce
  • The need to rethink ‘sunshine wages’ to compete nationally as the workforce ‘votes with their feet’ moving to higher paid opportunities and remote working becomes more mainstream
  • Growing and retaining our own talent by ensuring attractive training options and career paths for our rangatahi the enable them to stay in the region
  • Maximising the value of older workers and enabling employers to plan for and support those who wish to keep working
  • The aquaculture workforce opportunities and the plan and funding to implement action (with broad national coverage)

Funding to implement the aquaculture workforce plan

Faced with the challenge of how to support implementation of the national aquaculture workforce plan developed by industry / employers /government agencies / RSLG, we were able to connect the MBIE Sector Workforce Engagement Programme with AQNZ and support discussions that resulted in a funding contract of $210k for AQNZ to co-ordinate a 2year implementation programme. 

Collaboration to contribute a regional voice to industry transformation plans for tourism

We have begun our work to add sectors to our refreshed plan for 2023 by hosting a collective regional discussion including the Ringa Hora WDC.  This resulted in the RSLG making a detailed regional submission on industry transformation for tourism and the wider visitor sector.

Last updated: 08 March 2023