Areas identified in the Regional Workforce Plan

The following page outlines advice to Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) across 4 priority sectors identified in our Regional Workforce Plan (RWP); Digital Capability, Primary Industry, Manufacturing and Engineering and Construction and Infrastructure.

Digital capability

Digital technology and the skills associated with information and communications technology (ICT), provide significant opportunities for the Waikato region to realise productivity gains and increased GDP. ICT is integral to the region’s future workforce and skills development.

Industry stakeholders advise that despite the large number of workers in the sector, finding skilled workers is a challenge; there are no standard industry measures in place to adequately assess worker skill level. An example being the distinction between ICT practitioners and ICT professionals.

Waikato ICT sector leaders continue to advocate for the creation of an apprenticeship programme for further development of targeted microcredentials. Navigating career pathways within the sector is often unclear.

Waikato construction and infrastructure

The industry continues to grow despite the strain on businesses who find it difficult to retain skilled and unskilled labour. Waikato employers are bracing for further shortages as opportunities for the anticipated re-build in the Tai Rāwhiti and Hawkes Bay regions present. The attraction of the Australian opportunities is being felt across the Waikato. 2020 data shows that 74% of the Waikato Construction workforce came from different sectors; almost 10% came from secondary school. Apprenticeship Boost has helped support new people into the industry.

Iwi partners have signaled that the Māori and Pasifika Trade Training program is a model that resonates with them and have voiced their desire to have this program opened up to them to deliver.

Freight and logistics

Waikato is the heart of the Golden Triangle, with significant volumes of freight generated from road transport passing through the region daily. With investment in major freight and logistics assets such as the Ruakura Inland Port and strong forecast population growth in the region, the freight and logistics sector is expected to be an important source of growth for the Waikato. The shortage of truck drivers grows with each retiring driver; employers advise of the difficulty in attracting, training and retaining staff.

The Freight and Logistics sector employs 7,064 workers across the Waikato, with 2,337 workers in Hamilton City. The sector has a heavy reliance on a male workforce (77.8% male and 22.2% female) and most workers are low-skilled (74.3%). Only 19.7% of the workforce identifies as Māori, and 61% have no post-school qualification.

Primary industries

Primary industry leaders in the Dairy Cow sector have identified a lack of support for upskilling and career progression as a major gap in the training programs delivered across the region. This is a significant issue, as upskilling and career progression are essential for workers to remain competitive in the primary industries. Without support for upskilling and career progression, workers may lack the necessary knowledge and experience to effectively carry out their duties.


The Waikato Manufacturing sector faces several training gaps that need to be addressed to ensure the industry's growth and sustainability. Waikato is facing a shortage of skilled workers due to the:

  • aging workforce
  • low levels of training
  • limited access to training opportunities.

Industry 4.0 is an integral part of the growth and sustainability of the sector; Waikato employers recognise this and require access to more training programs that will better support workers to confidently transition to digital technologies.

New Zealand manufacturing and engineering businesses require skilled Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining workers to remain productive and competitive. However, current responses are not producing the skills required and are not fit-for purpose. There is no current industry recognised formal training and accreditation in this area. This will: Standardise skills nationally. Presently, skills are not standardised and are ad hoc.