Ngā matea pūkenga ā-rohe – he kupu | Regional skills needs – TEC advice

In May 2023 the RSLG provided advice to the TEC to help guide their investment process and decisions for 2024 funding for the Nelson Tasman region.

To shape our recommendations, we consulted a wide cross section of stakeholders including key regional industry employers, tertiary education organisations, WDCs, central and local government, Māori/iwi, unions, and other key community representatives. Similar issues were raised in almost every conversation, summarised in the overarching advice below. The sector and demographic advice reinforce training and skill needs in the priority sectors, industries and demographic groups identified in our RWP 2022 as well as the two new sectors - Visitor Sector and Forestry and Wood processing.

Our overarching advice

Desired outcome and recommended action

Joined up regional workforce data

  • TEC lead a collective approach to deliver regional workforce and learner data and evidence for each of the 15 RSLG regions, developing data sets with other relevant agencies (eg, MBIE; MSD; MoE and WDCs). This should include strengthening provision of iwi/Māori data.

Strengthened cultural capability and capacity

  • TEC identify and fund Mā Māori Mō Māori, ki a Māori solutions to build Māori cultural capability and capacity for both learners and educators.

Ongoing access to strategically important learning

  • TEC ensure additional funding support for delivery of courses strategically important to regions, where low learner numbers mean delivery is financially non-viable for providers.

Leadership and management capability development at all levels

  • TEC fund upskilling and reskilling for regional industries, with a priority focus on middle level managers.

Digital and technology skills development for workers of all ages

  • TEC fund digital and technology skills development at all levels to support adoption of technology and continuous improvement.

Alignment with industry needs for upskilling and reskilling with flexible and portable learning and credentials

  • TEC fund flexible and nimble delivery of niche programmes using stackable skills recognition eg, micro-credentials.

Skills that support sustainable practices for business

  • TEC prioritise access for current and future workforces to upskill and reskill regarding design, planning, and working in ways that eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials, and regenerate nature.

Careers advice and support that enhances attraction and retention of skilled workers of all ages

  • TEC invest in regional careers systems to better support relationships between careers education and regional industry and organisations.
A person collecting a meal order from a hatch to the cafe kitchen.

Boat Shed Cafe, Neat Places, sourced from

Our advice specific to sectors


  • Maintain access to and provision of all education and training essential to the aquaculture sector, including:
    • aquaculture specific Level 3 and 4 certificates, degree in aquaculture and marine conservation, and post-graduate study in aquaculture
    • role-specific skipper, deckhand, boat master, radio operator, diving, fish farming, seafood processing, and aquaculture technician
    • generic first aid, health and safety, and confined space training.
  • Fund and support aquaculture apprenticeships (Hatchery, Fish and Shellfish).
  • Fund and support engineering and automation skills needed by the aquaculture sector.
  • Address the need for training to support entry level employees in a primary products food processing operation, ensuring they have the skills and knowledge to work in a laboratory, environmental or product quality role.
  • Consider supporting the development of a partnership between research institutes and Te Pūkenga focused on industry hubs in Tai Tokerau, Bay of Plenty, Te Tauihu and Murihiku.


  • Encourage continuity of provision by continuing to fund the full suite of trades training and pre-employment provision in the region, including foundation skills; pre-employment/first year of apprenticeship; remaining apprenticeship years.
  • Increase student numbers and ring fence to ensure training volumes reflect current and forecast construction workforce demand, including:
    • continuity of learning for those already in the apprenticeship system
    • broadening access to a wider range of allied trades.
  • Investigate alternative approaches to work based training delivery, including a ‘group training’ approach as offered by some providers.
  • Support access to leadership/supervisory training for final year apprentices and those who have completed their training.
  • Acknowledge and address the need for training for skilled trades assistants, noting engineering firms require this role/skill set when working on large projects.

Forestry and Wood Processing

  • Maintain access to and provision of all forestry and silviculture education and training, including:
    • forestry specific industry foundation skills; Forest Harvesting Operations; Tree Felling and Clearing (non-production); Forestry Industry Operations (planning and management); Forestry Crew Management; Diploma in Forest Management
    • silviculture specific Level 3 and 4 qualifications
    • generic first aid, health and safety.
  • Maintain funding, access to and provision of all 23 qualifications, education and training essential to the wood processing sector, particularly those in the areas of solid wood, wood panel and plywood, and pulp and paper.
  • Maintain access to and provision of all apprenticeships essential to the wood processing sector.
  • Increase and coordinate regional vocational training regarding use of wood products for the Construction sector.
  • Fund and support engineering and automation skills needed by the forestry and wood processing sectors.

Visitor sector - Tourism/Accommodation and Food

  • Increase funding for tourism and hospitality education to enable the region to have the capacity to address the skills shortages and changing labour market requirements for multiskilled staff with transferable skills.
  • Require study options to be as flexible as possible, in both entry level roles and management level, to address the various needs of learners and employers whether in the workplace or campus based or both.
  • Fund team leadership and management training so managers are better equipped to coach and develop staff.
  • Fund ‘shorter and sharper’ courses in hospitality and management skill areas.
  • Robust funding of outdoor adventure guide training is required. Current TEC funding levels should be retained. There is a shortage of suitably trained outdoor adventure guides in the region. Training is particularly essential before they enter the workforce.
  • Fund the delivery of event training in the Nelson Tasman region to meet the demand for suitably qualified staff for forecast events and skills shortages for the event sector.
  • Provide targeted funding towards training and upskilling Māori tourism businesses to enable them to become self-sufficient and support capability building within regional Māori business networks.

Our advice specific to demographic groups

Older workers

  • Specifically fund bespoke training and support that enables reskilling and upskilling for older workers (50 years plus), in recognition that they are a critical section of the workforce, and are a heterogeneous group with varying needs not easily met in standard training options.
    This training and support should include:
    • age-appropriate cohorts
    • a focus on upskilling and reskilling.
  • Training and support for employers in job shaping to adapt their workplace and business practices, increasing their ability to attract and retain a wider range of workers.


  • Continue to fund existing entry level training provision in the Nelson Tasman region.
  • Increase access to industry related learning and standards by schools, trades academies and other foundation providers.
  • Increase funding for Trades Academies, working closely with MoE, in recognition of the regional growth in both student numbers and increasing costs (eg, transport).
  • Continue to offer and promote access to career development training and qualifications supporting career planning and development.
  • Identify and act to close gaps in pre-employment service offerings, including but not restricted to enabling access for rangatahi to:
    • a broad-based modularised Trades option covering a range of trades/allied trades
    • foundation level support for computer design/animation.
A group of young people seated at a café table drinking coffee.

Photo taken by Oliver Weber, sourced from