Progress report: December 2022

The Te Purunga ki Te Raki Regional Workforce Plan sets out the actions for the RSLG. This update covers the actions that are the Group’s current focus.

Message from the RSLG co-chairs

The Te Purunga ki Te Raki Regional Skills Leadership Group (RSLG) has elected to place significant weight on achievement through relationships and partnership-building with key stakeholders in our region's labour market.

The Taitokerau Regional Workforce Plan provides a living conceptual logic to be interpreted, challenged and considered over time.

Taitokerau Regional Workforce Plan [PDF, 4 MB]

It is not comprehensive or exhaustive and you should read it in its totality rather than its elemental parts. It also demonstrates the confidence we have in ourselves, our relationships, and our communities. It is for us to be active imaginers of our rohe’s future while also being held accountable as the RSLG for both its authorship and execution.

We would also like to extend our gratitude to our leadership group, our partners and stakeholders who designed their whānau, their communities, and their sector into the plan.

Progress on actions from the Regional Workforce Plan

The Te Purunga ki Te Raki Regional Workforce Plan sets out the actions for the RSLG. This update covers the actions that are the Group’s current focus. Some of the actions in the RWP are scheduled to be undertaken in future years. The various components of the Plan have a focus on galvanising an iwi-centred, inclusive development process, grounded in the partnership arising from He Whakaputanga and Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The Plan elevates whānau across all aspects of regional workforce planning and economic development into the future.

Developing a conceptual and narrative framework bound through whakapapa to people and place has resulted in a series of high-quality priorities and actions that positively support an enlightened development of identity and wellbeing for the region and its communities.

Objective 1 – Te Taiao

Ensuring recovery from COVID-19-related impacts on workforce and building workforce resilience due to climate change and other economic disruptions.

Hauora health and communities

The health care sector is the largest employing sector with a workforce size of 9,815 people. It will grow 13.2% by 2027, meaning over 2,000 people are required to fill job openings in the next 5 years. 90% will be nursing and carer roles.

Reimagine Health Care in Taitokerau and improve the future skills pipeline for health care and communities

The RSLG has been working closely with the Northland District Health Board, Te Pūkenga NorthTec, Te Whatu Ora, Health NZ, the National Kaiāwhina Pipeline Working Group, and the Ministry of Health to increase the number of local students enrolling in nursing programmes, especially Māori learners, and provision of increased options for whānau wanting to study at home in the rohe.

The dialogue has led to the introduction of the Māori Registered Nursing Degree to be delivered in 2023/24 in the region, as well as initiation of training for podiatry, oral health, occupational health and mental health training available in the region.

Broadening of apprenticeship provision

Recently the Kaimahi to Enrolled Nursing programme has expanded, which will be instrumental in supporting Hauora health care and community services workforce development.

Ensuring Māori health leadership and delivery as well as meeting the skills needs for the region’s employers

Locality plans are being developed for the Taikorihi area and Te Kahu o Taonui have called for EOI for the first Iwi-Māori Partnership Boards. Cultural competency training is under development with hapū Ngāti Rehia and Toitū to Waiora. Toitū te Waiora are also developing micro-credentials for Kaimanaaki roles to aid the successful roll-out of health monitoring in the patient’s home by Ngāti Hine Health Trust and Taitimu Taipari. Expansion plans for the Pūhoro STEMM Academy have also been initiated for the region.

These initiatives will greatly increase community hapori input into local health care and increase the number of Māori health professionals across Taitokerau contributing to better overall health outcomes for Taitokerau, especially Māori. This will ensure Māori health leadership and delivery, as well as meeting the skills needs for the region’s employers, which are key outcomes for the RSLG.

Responding to Climate Change and Green Skills Development

Champion green skills and prepare the workforce for the green and equitable transition

Owing to climate change impacts of the Zero Carbon amendment to the Climate Change Response Act in 2019, the RSLG has been working closely with the Whangārei District Council, Northland Inc, Ngāwhā Innovation and Enterprise Park, and the Climate Change Commission to better understand the workforce requirements and skills needed to adapt to climate change.

This includes discussions with key stakeholders to determine the potential green skills required by industry based on demand for green talent in the region. Discussions are underway in the region for a proposed Renewable Energy Zone pilot as an opportunity for Taitokerau to transition to increased green energy generation and develop the workforce and skills required for this transition.

Objective 2 – Mātauranga

Supporting a productive economy through regional workforce planning and labour market intelligence in core economic sectors.

Construction and infrastructure

There is a severe shortage of workers in Taitokerau. The sector needs more than 4,000 workers over the next 5 years to replace those leaving the industry and meet increased demand. This is an increase of 33% from the 2020 workforce (11,500 workers).

Amplify initiatives to attract taitamariki into the industry including through subject choices that support these pathways

The RSLG is closely working with Te Pūkenga to ensure subjects are available to learners across the rohe. Growing the construction and infrastructure workforce and skills to meet forecast industry needs is an important outcome area for Te Purunga ki Te Raki RSLG having a specific focus on the housing workforce.

Currently Taitokerau needs minimum of 4,500 houses to address the shortage in housing. The RSLG welcomed the news that Te Pouahi o Te Taitokerau has been awarded $55 million to provide housing. The RSLG has been working closely with them as well as Waihanga Ara Rau, BCITO, Northland Transport Alliance and Te Hiku Iwi Development Trust to better understand these workforce needs and career pathways for the Taitokerau region.

Continue to tailor and grow vocational training to meet the construction and infrastructure needs of employers

The RSLG has also worked closely with TEC and Northland Inc to support workforce related dialogue for the Whangārei Hospital rebuild. Through this mahi the Dunedin Skills Hub was invited to present to stakeholders to show how the hospital rebuild will provide for local skills development and local employment opportunities with good pay. Early meetings are underway in the eco-system to find the means to set up a similar but uniquely Taitokerau approach.

Showcase successful examples (for example, Kainga Ora initiatives and Waka Kotahi Council led shovel ready projects) where social procurement has increased supplier equity and upskilling and provided more contracts for local businesses

The RSLG has been having close collaboration with Kainga Ora and Waka Kotahi to plan to better understand workforce needs that can support its work to deliver against its commitments under the public housing plan. Through this mahi Kainga Ora have changed their contracting model for Taitokerau to enable more local businesses to tender, thus enabling participation of the local workforce.

Objective 3 – He Tāngata

Supporting skills and training opportunities to enable whānau aspirations, especially wāhine.

Education and skills

COVID-19 has brought on new challenges to the region’s labour market, more so for young people aged 15 to 24 years, with the rate of youth not in employment, education, or training (NEET) increasing to 15.8%. This rate is the second highest nationally and is 5.1% higher than the New Zealand average.

Increase student achievement in secondary and tertiary education to allow for a sustainable workforce pipeline for the Taitokerau region

The RSLG has been working very closely with the Ministry of Education and Te Pūkenga NorthTec officials based in Taitokerau towards improved education and labour market outcomes for the region.

One issue raised was that students who completed the Kāinga Ora Building Academy were not transitioning into employment. The RSLG Secretariat facilitated a connection to Waihanga Ara Rau and BCITO to give the graduate students more transition opportunities.

The Education 2 Employment (E2E) network

The E2E network is active in Taitokerau and provides information on skills training and careers to:

  • schools
  • students
  • whanau
  • employers
  • job seekers.

Their next event is a teachers day scheduled for 31 March 2023 with the aim of strengthening relationships between schools and industry. This is aligned with Pūhoro STEM launched in November 2022 providing information emphasising the importance of the science subjects and locally available apprenticeship pathways for future mahi.

He Tāngata – Equitable and inclusive workforce

Support equitable and inclusive access to education and skills development system

This will be future-focused, digitally enabled and proven to raise the skill level, education achievement, and engagement levels, especially of Māori, as an economic priority for the region.

The RSLG has been working closely with the Ministry of Social Development, Te Hiku Iwi Development Trust, Te Pai Roa Tika and Te Kahu o Taonui to support iwi, hapū and Māori-led workforce development and upskilling initiatives by providing them with information and connections to accelerate these. This includes actively supporting Māori groups as they trial new procurement models with funders to provide services to their own people and support them into decent mahi that contributes to their kaupapa and whakapapa.

Future actions and activities

In the coming year the RSLG will be working on actions relating to the following areas:

  • Objective 1: Te Taiao – Resilient workforce development
  • Objective 2: Mātauranga – Primary industry, digital skills, destination
  • Objective 3: He Tāngata – Our people and whānau workforce development

For more information 


Last updated: 08 March 2023