Local insights report: April 2023

Taranaki Regional Skills Leadership Group (RSLG) local insights report for April 2023.

Top regional insights

Te Niho o Te Ataiawa (Parāhuka marae) hosted a 'Bringing tech to the pā' event to increase youth participation in the IT sector

The wānanga was led by Learner Me, a Ngāmotu New Plymouth technology academy. The event transformed Parāhuka marae into a computer lab for the day as taiohi (youth) were invited to test their Information Technology (IT) skills by creating virtual versions of Parihaka Pā using computer stations, PlayStations, and iPads.

Learner Me seeks to prepare learners to work, create and thrive in the tech sector through an innovative technology-based learning platform. Ex-students, now working for Learner Me, encouraged taiohi to consider a career in IT.

Creating transparent career pathways and encouraging taiohi to get involved in IT is seen as vital to increasing the Māori participation rate in the sector. The Taranaki RSLG’s regional workforce plan identifies technology as a cross-cutting theme.

Taranaki RSLG regional workforce plan

This means that it is an important consideration in all aspects of our plans, from education and training to employment and economic development.

Venture Taranaki hosted the third Offshore Renewable Energy Forum in March

This was to explore the challenges and the significant opportunities for a successful offshore renewable energy industry. The forum highlighted the importance of engaging and partnering with local communities throughout the process to ensure offshore renewable energy can be developed in a socially responsible manner.

Job creation and supplying a significant and reliable source of electricity to meet our energy needs as well as reducing emissions to mitigate the impacts of climate change are a few of the many benefits said to be gained with adopting offshore renewable energy. The Government has, and will do further engagement on the regulatory settings for how infrastructure will be constructed, operated, and decommissioned.

Trends at a glance

The March 2023 ASB Regional Economic Scoreboard currently places Taranaki at 15th out of 16 regions

The Scoreboard takes the latest quarterly regional statistics and ranks the economic performance of New Zealand’s Regional Council areas. One reason for the poor result was Employment and Construction were the critical issues for Taranaki, both coming in last for the country, largely due to workforce shortages.


ASB Regional Economic Scoreboard [PDF, 2.1 MB](external link) — ASB

For the March 2023 quarter, Taranaki has a higher rate of young people (20 to 24) Not in Education Employment or Training (NEET)

This is compared to the national average (36.1% vs 13.1% total NZ). This represents a significant increase compared to the March 2022 quarter (19.1%). 

Source: Household Labour Force Survey

Total unemployment rate has increased by 1.4% since March 2022

The current unemployment rate is 3.8%, compared to 2.4% in the previous year. The long-term trend indicates unemployment is falling with unemployment decreasing from 5.2% over a 10-year period (March 2013).               

Source: Household Labour Force Survey

Regional activities

The Taranaki RSLG have worked in partnership with local union worker delegates to distribute a worker perspective survey to identify and understand training and skill needs of our kaimahi (workers)

The results are currently being gathered for analysis and will be referred to, to help the RSLG (and partners) understand worker views about current and future skills and training needs for inclusion in the next edition of the Taranaki Regional Workforce Plan set for early July 2023.

Preliminary findings and a summary analysis piece are set to be released later this month and will be shared in the next Local Insights Report.

Olivia Hall (Ngāti Rārua, Rangitane, Ngāti Kuia) and Mark Oldershaw have been appointed as the new co-leaders of Te Pūkenga for rohe (region) 3

As Taranaki/WITT sits in rohe 3, the Taranaki RSLG has extended an invitation to the incoming co-directors to connect and look forward to building a trusted partnership with them.

The Taranaki RSLG will continue to be a strong advocate for training needs in Taranaki through our in-depth understanding of the labour market and skills needs from employers and kaimahi.  

Taranaki construction company is helping to grow the next generation of talented kaimahi. 

Tuarā Group provides the next generation with the skills needed to grow and flourish in the Construction sector.

The Tuarā Group provides pathways that lift people into meaningful careers by supporting, assisting, and educating their kaimahi, while respecting and promoting connections with iwi across the Taranaki rohe.

RSLG spotlight on success — Building wellness Taranaki 

Building Wellness Taranaki (BWT) is a locally and industry-led charitable trust. It was established to improve the wellbeing outcomes of the Taranaki construction industry through the delivery of wellbeing promotion and suicide prevention programmes that are tailored to needs of kaimahi (workers) and leadership, based on research and evidence-based practice.

BWT’s purpose is to support the shift in culture within the Taranaki construction sector to one that cares for the wellbeing of the whole person, not just the worker on the worksite. This holistic and community-based approach to wellbeing extends beyond the workplace, into everyday lives, and benefits Taranaki’s wider communities.

BWT offers a variety of practical courses, tools and resources to support the wellbeing of kaimahi and leaders, including:

  • workplace focused 'Buddy' and 'Leading Wellbeing' training
  • industry mentoring and advocacy
  • early intervention
  • hosting of events such as Tools to Talk and Tradies Tools Down.

The Taranaki RSLG are looking to partner with and support BWT to help increase the uptake of kaimahi and leaders into the 'Buddy' and 'Leading Wellbeing' programmes. This will form part of the RSLG’s 2023 Regional Workforce Plan, which aims to ensure that more than 5% of the total Taranaki Construction workforce have participated in and benefitted from a Building Wellness Workplace programme.

For more information or to join as a member of BWT, visit:

Building Wellness Taranaki(external link)

Or contact Christina Lorth:

Advice to the Tertiary Education Commission

The Taranaki RSLG have recently submitted advice to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), which seeks to inform TEC’s Supplementary Investment Plan Guidance for 2024. The advice draws on available qualitative and quantitative data and provides current and projected workforce skill shortages across all sectors in the region. This advice also includes what we’ve heard from Industry, Employers, Kaimahi, Tertiary Education Providers and Workforce Development Councils.

Key messages included in our advice:

  • The ‘traditional’ education models are no longer serving our ākonga (learners) well. They are seeking options to study on-the-job while earning, and our kaimahi are seeking recognition of their current skills before committing to long qualifications.
  • Many tertiary education providers are wanting to further develop mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) offerings in their programmes, however, are limited in their resourcing and capacity to be able to do so.
  • Some kaimahi struggle with the theoretical aspects of apprenticeships, and require additional support from employers. Where skills can be assessed on the jobsite, kaimahi are having greater success levels.

You can read our advice to the TEC at:

Advice to the Tertiary Education Commission 

Prepared by the regionally led Taranaki Regional Skills Leadership Group.

For further information, contact:


Last updated: 23 May 2023