Progress on 2022 - 2023 actions
Establish the 'waikato futures academy' that supports both current and future skills needs of the primary industries and added value manufacturing sectors, including agritech, biotech, agribusiness, environmental and future foods capabilities.
- Collaboration work discussions of a Futures Academy are underway
- serving Dairy, Beef-Lamb, Aquaculture and Horticulture. In the first instance engagement with key stakeholders to be held on how best to tackle workforce skill challenges in the short, medium and long term ultimately building an education identity for the region (with a technology component to it) where people can go to gain skills desired by the Primary and other sectors (e.g., Manufacturing).
- Starting with Dairy, the RSLG is confident that many of the relevant skills programmes (practical and more formal) across the region already exist and that co-ordination, enabling relationships, connections and communication are key to pulling the sector pipeline together through schools into the Primary sector.
- RSLG will be engaging with Te Pūkenga and Muka Tangata to shape a workforce planning approach. This will be an activator for projects such as the Futures Academy (currently at the information gathering stage) synthesizing meaningful planning between communities/industry and the requirements set down by learning standards including for those who may wish to transfer between sectors.
Construction & Infrastructure
Develop broader professional standards for the industry that build capability and capacity and support a career in construction:
- Work with industry partners to identify critical skills (e.g., literacy and numeracy); skills in contracts, risk and business management; and life skills and make sure the waihanga ara rau micro-credential programme aligns with real sector needs.
- The RSLG is engaging with industry and schools to gain a clearer "picture" of workforce needs across the Waikato as they relate to Construction and Infrastructure and to understand what appears to be coming out of the following areas:
- Labour market competition: that is, whether investment policies within firms include attracting talent/retaining skills - e.g., knowledge being passed on by older to younger workers - and if this is not the case then the reasons why this is not so.
- Communications strategy with schools: Does industry need to become more contextualised in the education system> If so, how would this be achieved? This revolves around what schools are doing to make the C&I industry more visible and interesting enough for students to want to pursue it as a pathway to employment.
- Support for businesses: Medium sized firms in C&I appear to be trading off apprenticeships and training schemes in favour of meeting client demands for increased efficiency and productivity. This is because they do not have the capacity and sometimes foresight to realise concurrent skills development and output continuities.
- The crux of this work is to understand the workforce skills gap in the Waikato C&I sector to help develop a clear problem definition along with suggested solutions.
- There will likely be work with Waihanga Ara Rau to ensure that any micro-credential programme that is developed aligns with C&I sector needs when applied regionally. Removal of any barriers in relation to workforce participation in C&I will:
- Attract and retain staff through skills development building resilience and future ready workers in C&I.
- Facilitate changes in the mindsets of students such that they can see themselves in C&I ensuring a strong school to industry worker pipeline.
- Enable workforce participation and skills transition making workplace learning function better especially within small to medium sized businesses or within clusters of these businesses primarily achieved by leveraging relationships with companies who have successful recruitment/ training/skills development programmes for guidance.
Appoint a futurist to support ongoing regional workforce plan development.
- This is part of the Digital Capability/Future of Work section of the Plan (actions 1B and 19). The RSLG brought on a "futurist" to help identify how the application of technology will transform the Waikato economy. These were in areas of climate, logistics, food, and rising inequality. By continuously looking to the future, we will better understand the possibilities and labour market opportunities across the Waikato.
- The insights have been used to inform future recommendations and relevant actions in the RWP.
Support the 'equitable opportunities for tech employment' pilot initiative to simplify and improve the tech education-to-employment pathway so there are equitable opportunities for a wider spectrum of learners. Resulting in a deep pipeline of locally grown, diverse workready tech talent that can support industry, Iwi (Waikato Tainui) and regional growth.
- RSLG has engaged with Māori digital technology practitioners positioning rangatahi Māori and peering them up with experts in the field facilitating participation of diversity via 10 internships premised on the gap between what is on offer within the industry and those working in the sector.
- Getting a full picture across the Waikato garnering opportunities to close labour market gaps
- getting rangatahi Māori into the industry by familiarising them with digital technology and attracting/retaining individuals in the sector 10 internship awards.
Freight & logistics
Support 'Road to Success Programme' for the Waikato region which focuses on growing the pipeline of truck drivers, including exploring opportunities to increase the pipeline of female drivers.
- Te Waka has led engagement with the relevant WDCs (Hanga-Aro Rau and Ringa Hora) and industry to identify key challenges and opportunities to support workforce development for the Freight and Logistics sector in the Waikato region. Te Waka has hosted several workshops in the region, focussed around talent attraction, talent retention and community engagement, bringing together representatives from the WDCs, employers and education/ training providers. Through this engagement we have identified priority areas for assistance:
- Building school and community connections
- Literacy and numeracy support
- Pre-employment support and recruitment
- Assessor training and licensing support
- In our engagement with Tainui Group Holdings in relation to the Ruakura Superhub, we have identified that there will be -7,000 new job opportunities at the Superhub in the coming years. We have been engaging with key employers at the Superhub, such as Kmart) to understand their workforce needs and training plans to determine how the RSLG can best support the projected workforce growth in the region. To date, collaboration between Kmart and MSD has successfully resulted in the placement of 100 positions.
- Te Waka is leading engagement with industry representatives to identify and co-design pilot opportunities to address the priority areas for assistance. The objective is to support tangible action in the region that can be trialled and then (if successful) rolled out to other regions in Aotearoa New Zealand.
- We will continue to engage with key employers at the Superhub to understand their workforce needs and training plans, with a focus on identifying opportunities to encourage adoption of standardised qualifications. There is an opportunity to incorporate this into the entry-level NZQA logistics and supply chain qualifications, which we understand are due to be reviewed in 2027.
Expand on existing mentoring programmes that support young people entering education, training, or work.
- The RSLGhas collaborated with MSD, Youth Training and Employment, and the Ministry of Education to research and create a stocktake of high performing Waikato-based providers who offer education to training/ employment transition support services for youth across the region. Feedback from employers indicated a need for more young employees to develop 'work-ready' skills and there appeared to be duplication and fragmentation of support services offered in the Waikato. The stocktake/research showed:
- the current provision of services did not match geographical need and were heavily focused in the city centre
- work-ready support made up the largest proportion of support services
- Therefore, services were least accessible to the people who needed them the most (e.g., Māori and young people), often leading to rural communities creating their own place-based services, to accommodate the needs of young people and their whānau.
- The stocktake was geared towards completing the workforce "picture" across the region to understand how the current support provision is impacting education, training and employment outcomes as these relate to rangatahi.
- After much consultation with stakeholders in the youth support space, the stocktake and research identified the need to work towards:
- Increasing visibility and connectivity of current support services - helping rangatahi to find the support they need facilitating transition into higher education, training and employment
- Optimising provision of services - to help prioritise resources and industry connections for areas and groups with high need and identifying what is required for current support provision to make assistance more accessible, relevant and impactful for young people
- Addressing these gaps will lead to improvements in the quality and impact of the education to employment support service provision for youth in the Waikato.
- Identify industry-led existing programmes, including those that support employers to be 'better employers', that will be most impactful for attracting, training and retaining workers across the Waikato, and advocate for prioritised delivery into subregions.
- Improve the quality of careers guidance for young people in the Waikato by increasing connections between industry and careers advisors to provide a greater understanding of future workforce needs and more industry pathway options for school leavers across the Waikato.
- The RSLGis supportive of Smart Waikato work to co-ordinate business, education and government agencies to improve education to employment pathways for our rangatahi.
- RSLG is broaching youth employment pathway workforce resilience through consultation processes with local councils bringing its unique perspectives on the connection between not having enough of these pathways and the impacts on communities because of this.
- RSLG will be engaging with local councils to drive forward workforce planning through long term plans including improved employability skills amongst youth. Such discussions will facilitate meaningful planning between communities and current/future Waikato leaders regarding improved employment outcomes for rangatahi.
- This approach is geared towards completing part of the school to employment pathway "picture" across the Waikato garnering opportunities to help close labour market gaps by building resilient workforce pipelines.