He kōrero whakataki nā kā heamana takiru | Co-chairs foreword

Nau mai, haere mai, tauti mai

Ko tātau te hāpori o Otago, e mahi tahi ana

kia e ai ō tātau moemoeā, kia haka pakari ai

kā tākata katoa i te takiwā o Otago.

Tēnā koutou,

Tēnā koutou,

Tēnā tātou katoa

It’s been a busy year as the Regional Skills Leadership Group (RSLG) has continued to identify and support better ways of meeting future regional skills and workforce needs across Otago.

In introducing this Otago Regional Workforce Plan (RWP) Update, we would like to thank all those in our region – our employers, workers, rūnaka, education providers, local and central government representatives, and community organisations – who have engaged with us and helped to shape this revised plan. We know it has been a difficult year for many in Otago as labour market conditions have remained tight; your time, input, and passion for our region are even more appreciated given the current economic climate.

Through constant engagement across the region, and analysis of what we have learnt, the RSLG has gained a more thorough understanding of Otago’s unique workforce needs and challenges. As we already knew, these are nuanced; they vary from district to district, and from sector to sector. Importantly, however, our work has uncovered structural commonalities that are evident across the region; issues that arise in all corners of the region and across our sectors and their workforces.

These commonalities – or cross-cutting labour market ‘themes’ – are where the group will focus our future efforts and analysis. In brief, we have identified three underlying focal points: economically vulnerable Otago communities; skills for technological change; and untapped potential the Otago labour market. This document will introduce these themes in detail.

The group has pivoted from sector-based analysis to this thematic approach, recognising that this is the most effective way we can meaningfully shift the dial on labour market outcomes in our region. However, engaging with employers, workers and stakeholders from Otago’s core and emerging sectors remains a priority, and we will continue to provide updated data and insights on how they are faring in the labour market.

Engagement with mana whenua and Māori in the region will continue. We want to profile the regional Māori economy, support the aspirations of mana whenua and Māori businesses as employers, and understand Māori labour market participation across the region. To those who have given their time over the last year - kā mihi ki a koutou. Let’s keep working together to bring whānau home to good jobs.

Lastly, a big thank you to the members of our RSLG. With you all on board, we feel this work gathering pace and making a difference. Let’s continue to work for Otago.

We look forward to working with our stakeholders and partners in the region as we continue to respond to our wero of developing an equitable, responsive, and sustainable labour market system that supports everyone in Otago to thrive.

Kā mihinui ki a koutou,

Karen Coutts, (iwi co-chair) and Laura Black (co-chair)