Wāhaka tuarima: Tohutohu, pūroko me te aroturuki | Chapter 5: Advice, reporting and monitoring

RSLG puroko whanaketaka | RSLG progress update

The RSLG is proud of the progress we have made over the last year, as we continue to identify and support better ways of meeting future regional skills and workforce needs across Otago.  Below is a report on our progress to date and ‘next steps’ against our 2023 actions, whilst also including a summary of the actions that have been completed, merged, or continued on from the 2022 Regional Workforce Plan (RWP).

Action 1: Lead a feasibility analysis for a potential regional solution that looks to mitigate skills shortages.

  • Through engagement and insights gained from our other actions and workstreams, we have begun to map the scope and requirements of this action.
  • We have built relationships with key stakeholders and partners via direct member engagement, presentations at RSLG hui, and secretariat facilitation. We have seen increased interest and alignment from our sub-regional partners, many of whom are starting to design and implement initiatives in this space – for example, the Mahi QL workforce initiative in Queenstown Lakes.
  • We will continue to leverage off emerging initiatives from sectors and sub-regions that align with this action. Additionally, as the labour market environment evolves, we will ensure that the breadth and scope of this action remains relevant.
  • This action continues on from the 2022 RWP.

Action 2: Work with Otago Regional Economic Development (ORED), District Economic Development Agencies, Territorial Local Authorities and the Otago Mayoral Forum to ensure labour market collaboration across the region. 

  • The RSLG attend and contribute to:
    • Regular Otago Regional Economic Development (ORED) group meetings. The ORED Co-chair is a RSLG member, and the Group has received presentations from other individual ORED members.
    • Sub-regional initiatives such as the Central Otago Labour Governance Group and Mahi QL meetings. We are also working on introducing foundation training initiatives in the Waitaki District.
  • We have partnered with ORED to roll out a ‘Learn Otago’ initiative, which seeks to better co-ordinate informal in-work training in the region.  We look to advance this work in partnership with Mahi QL. This action will continue to develop and grow over the next six months, through the joint efforts of ORED and Mahi QL.
  • In the coming year, the RSLG will continue to actively collaborate and coordinate with ORED, the Central Otago Labour Governance Group, Mahi QL and in the Waitaki District.
  • This action has been formed through a consolidation of Actions 2, 6 and 8 in the 2022 RWP, which all looked to achieve the same goal.

Action 3: Advocate for Otago, our businesses, and our workers in our engagement with central government policy teams.

Through our engagement in the region, it has become clear that a primary concern of our stakeholders is the vulnerability of their communities regarding their ability to respond to sudden events and economic mega-trends. As part of our revised thematic approach to workforce planning, we will work with these communities to better understand and define their vulnerability and will facilitate the sharing of information with relevant agencies and stakeholders.

  • We will continue to publish and distribute quarterly Local Insights Reports (LIRs), communicating the ‘on the ground’ labour market challenges and opportunities of our region.
  • Our 2022 Regional Workforce Plan and 2023 Update was written in consultation with over 300 regional labour market actors, and we will continue to engage across the region as we further refine and implement our Plan.
  • This action continues on from the 2022 RWP.

Action 4: Gain a better understanding of Māori participation across the regional economy through data analysis and collaboration with mana whenua and Māori.

  • We have undertaken an initial scan of potential sources of data on the Māori labour market in Otago.
  • An initial hui with mana whenua will be held in June 2023, to commence a formal dialogue on Māori regional workforce aspirations in Otago.
  • Our Co-chairs have represented the group at various hui with Māori throughout the region over the last six months, including at Moeraki marae.
  • We organised a hui at Puketeraki marae, which included a discussion about shared objectives and strengthened partnership.
  • Connections have been made with Aukaha (a mana whenua-owned consultancy) and KUMA (the Southern Māori Business Network). Both organisations are represented in the Otago RSLG membership.
  • We will continue to engage with actors in Otago’s Māori labour market to fill knowledge gaps and gather data to support our insights.
  • We have hui at both Moeraki and Ōtākou marae planned for 2023.
  • Our Māori Participation & Collaboration rōpū (the RSLG sub- group responsible for this action) have recognised that Actions 4 and 5 from the 2022 RWP are intertwined and work toward the same outcome, so these actions have been combined into this one for 2023.

Action 5: Collaborate with education providers to ensure capability upskill in changing technologies is a priority in learning provision.

  • We have completed a spotlight on the role of technology in the workplace, and the workforce development response that will be required.
  • Development and deployment of training that builds technical capability across the workforce (including workplace decision makers) will be a focus for the RSLG moving forward, including through our Skills for Technological Change spotlight.
  • This action continues on from the 2022 RWP.

Action 6: Collaborate with groups that aim to better equip the Otago workforce for technological change.

  • We have completed a report on digital connectivity in the Otago region which has shown that we need to weave in digital access considerations into the work of this action.
  • Actions 7 and 16 in the 2022 RWP have been completed, and the resulting outputs will help to inform this action going forward.

Action 7: Collaborate with regional initiatives that address clarity of pathways into, and through, employment.

  • We have advanced this action by partnering with the Central Otago Labour Governance Group, Workforce Central Dunedin, Mahi QL, the Central Otago Pathways Group, and the Waitaki foundation learning initiative.
  • We will continue to engage with these entities and provide support for initiatives and workstreams that emerge from their mahi.
  • This action continues on from the 2022 RWP.

Action 8: Collaborate with initiatives that seek to innovate regional education and training provision and provide region-centric recommendations to vocational education system entities.

  • We will continue to scan for and highlight innovation in education and training provision to our local and national-level partners.
  • To date, we have formed partnership and information sharing channels with the Central Otago Pathways Group, Energy Academy, Queenstown Resort College and Te Pūkenga.
  • This action continues on from the 2022 RWP.

Action 9: Evaluate untapped potential in the Otago labour market to better understand the unique needs and barriers that exist which prevent/hinder participation in the workforce.

  • This action correlates to the untapped potential in the Otago labour market theme we have identified in this RWP Update. We have established a sub-group to collaboratively analyse the issue from both supply-side and demand-side perspectives.
  • This new action is a culmination of the work that has come from Actions 17 and 18 in the 2022 RWP which have been completed.

RSLG advice to the Tertiary Education Commission

This section contains extracts of the advice we provided to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) in April 2023. The advice is to enable the TEC and other parties in the tertiary education system to prioritise tertiary educational provision, provide targeted careers advice, and make improvements to the regional delivery of training.

[Otago RSLG’s advice to the Tertiary Education Commission]

Regional context and workforce aspirations

In Otago there are currently not enough people for the number of jobs available, a result of demographic trends including declining birth rates and aging population.  Lifting workforce productivity is a key strategy to address this issue. The Otago Regional Skills Leadership Group (RSLG) is developing a themes-based approach to how workforce planning can support lifting productivity and exploring different approaches to the provision of education and training is a key component of this.

Our aspiration to develop an equitable, responsive, and sustainable labour market system that supports everyone in Otago to thrive remains. This will be achieved through whole of region coordination, transformational change in education, building capability across the labour market and ensuring quality (and equality) of life.

Key themes of our engagement with WDCs and TEOs

The Otago RSLG has engaged with Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) and Tertiary Education Organisations (TEOs) in-region. Some key themes/areas of focus that were identified include:

  • Māori and Pasifika workforces
  • Employability/transferable skills
  • Support for pastoral care of ākonga (learners) in work
  • The development of a Trade Assistant entry qualification by Hanga-Aro-Rau WDC and Waihanga Ara Rau

Tertiary Education specific advice

Otago RSLG is concerned about disparate tertiary provision across the region

  • Engagement with workplaces suggests that workers and employers require more flexible learning options
  • Basic literacy requirements are a barrier for many workers to engage with further education
  • Training is needed to best prepare ākonga to adapt to new skills and incorporate emergent technology in all fields

Careers system specific advice

The Otago RSLG has identified a lack of consistent and timely careers advice.

Engagement with employers, ākonga and workers has indicated that there is frustration with the careers system not providing timely information regarding pathways, sector skill requirements, and learning/training options. 

The Otago RSLG has had engagement with the Energy Academy and would like to highlight some of their approaches in this advice. Whilst their focus is on the Energy sector, we think that they have developed some interesting concepts to address systemic issues which could be useful if applied across other sectors.