He tāngata – supporting skills and training opportunities to enable whānau aspirations, especially wāhine

Education and skills

Labour market insights

Education and training are at the core of any effort to increase a country’s productivity. In general, higher education achievement has been associated with better labour market outcomes and protection from unemployment. 37% of people who are not employed have no qualifications, compared with 21% of those who are employed. Conversely, 52% of people in employment have level 4 certificates and above, compared with 37% of people not in employment.

Labour market outcomes of skills and qualifications(external link) — Ministry of Education

At the recent Kahui Ako hui (2020), teachers noted that many students do not know what they want or need to study to enter a particular sector workforce. Students often do not see the relevance of a subject, notably the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) subjects, so do not elect to take them. To overcome this barrier local industry and employers are reaching out to schools and finding ways to engage with students - be it through presentations at schools especially targeting year 9 and 10 students, to enable them to select relevant subjects for their preferred sector, or through Gateway or Star programmes. Teachers have commented that targeting the subject teachers is as important as talking with the students, as teachers influence student’s future employment choices. Involving the teachers ensures students have more options.

“Pastoral Care is critical. We are trying to look after trainees and employers – COVID-19 has impacted – the isolation is impacting our ability for training organisers to visit people.”

– Julian Blank, BCITO Whangārei

Apprentices frequently experienced a lack of support while studying. Prior to COVID-19, many apprentices attended night courses or attended study blocks, however many have now moved online. This is not fully embraced by learners either due to access and connectivity issues, or as it does not support their preferred style of learning.

Student outcomes are rising but there is still room for improvement. Continuing to increase student achievement in Taitokerau especially within secondary and tertiary education is a priority. Action is focused on targeted efforts to support the most vulnerable tamariki and remove the persistent inequity in educational participation and achievement. It is important to build excellence into the system, embedding those practices that make a difference for Māori. This will maximise the impact for Māori, and ensure all Māori are present, safe and included in educational experiences, creating equitable provision of educational opportunities in both English and Māori-medium settings.

Top 10 Qualifications in demand in Northland Region – 2021

Bar graph of Northland Region workforce skills

Wahine with moko kauae wearing hard hat and hi-vis vest on a cherry picker.

Education and training are at the core of any effort to increase a country’s productivity.

Overall action plan

  • Review the outcomes on raising learner achievement outlined in the Education Work Programme with a continuous focus on all learners, including Māori, and identify which actions are most relevant to our rohe, which outcomes are priorities, and what is missing that is specific to our rohe.
  • Champion education with industry/business interests to further better education pathways for our region’s people.
    • Foster member networks, industry and business involvement in the localised curriculum initiative with the Ministry of Education E2E team to ensure that learning is relevant to our rohe.
    • Encourage support of the region’s Trade Academies through industry support, and by taking students into apprenticeships so that students see connection in learning, while the ethnic, gender and socio-economic stereotypes around career paths are broken down; with a focus on girls, young women and wāhine.
    • Encourage industry, employers and industry bodies to assist teachers to develop context for learning through visits to the classroom and applied examples with an emphasis on secondary schools and maintaining enrolment in STEM subjects.
  • Support barrier free access to training opportunities regardless of where students live.
  • Showcase learnings and share with stakeholders the successful initiatives with strong pastoral care components that awhi successful transitions into the labour market e.g. Tupu and Smart Trade Solutions Ltd.

Equitable and inclusive workforce

Labour market insights

The importance of Māori in shaping the region’s future is now more important than ever. The proportion of Māori in the Taitokerau population is increasing over time, from 31.7% at the 2006 census to 36% at the 2018 census. Māori also make up 52% of the child and youth population. A greater proportion of the population in Taitokerau speak Māori than New Zealand as a whole (9.9% versus 4% respectively). Māori will have a growing role to play in the future labour force, economy and in education and training for the region and relevant education, employment and workforce opportunities need to be in place to ensure a future enabled and future ready Māori workforce.

Source: Infometrics, QEM. Accessed May 2022

There was a disproportionate impact on women in the region due to their over-representation in industries more impacted by COVID-19, including retail, tourism and hospitality. Historically Taitokerau makes a slower recovery from economic shocks, mostly recently from the Global Financial Crisis. This highlights the importance of a more resilient future workforce. Addressing these labour market challenges and supporting the workforce in to sustainable, equitable and inclusive employment will be key for the region to be productive and resilient.

The importance of Māori in shaping the region’s future is now more important than ever.

Overall action plan

  • Actively support and awhi 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 wellbeing, their kaupapa and their whakapapa.  
  • Support iwi, Hapū and Māori led workforce development and upskilling initiatives by linking them to information and resources to accelerate these.
  • Build stronger pathways and support for wāhine Māori entrepreneurs.
  • Support whānau with health conditions or impairments to access skills and education and employment across the rohe.

Our people and whānau

Labour market insights

Challenges underpinning skills and the labour market go beyond the education system to wider socioeconomic issues: It is well understood that poverty can limit a person’s ability to meet basic needs such as housing, transport, power, food and clothing. It can also be a barrier to accessing services like health, education and childcare and, when severe and persistent, poverty can lead to severe stress, stigma and exclusion, housing instability and transience which impact on wellbeing and a person’s ability to engage with educational and employment opportunities (Child and youth wellbeing strategy, 2019). Ensuring that support and wrap around services are available to our people and whanau when needed is essential to build a resilient and thriving workforce.

Māori in Northland Region

Bar graph of Māori employment in Northland

Increasing the number of people, especially Māori, who are being trained and employed in decent jobs in more skilled and productive industries, is a priority if we are to build regional resilience and providing them with the right services is key to moving the region forward.

Overall action plan

  • Develop Mātauranga Māori based on kanohi ke ti kanohi job counselling service.
    • Pilot a model specifically to work for Taitokerau rural and remote areas.

Waka Wairua

Taitokerau is where our ancestor Kupe and his crew made landfall aboard the Matahourua waka approximately 1000 year ago, at Te Hokianga-nui-a- Kupe. It is also the point from where he returned to Hawaiki setting Te Reinga as the place of departure for our wairua (spirits). From Te Reinga our wairua surface at Manawatāwhi before boarding their waka wairua back to Hawaiki.

When Kupe arrived back to his homeland in the Pacific, the Matahourua was readzed and renamed, Ngā-toki-mata-whao-rua before journeying back to Hokianga-nui-a-Kupe with the Māmari waka.

Waka in their many forms have shaped our spirit of continual connection, adaptation, and ultimately survival.

Kaihoe padding a waka