Our current and future environment

This plan is published in a time of significant change. The country is in its third year of the global pandemic.

As a region we have seen Covid affect sectors like tourism and hospitality, health, construction, manufacturing, digital technologies and the primary sector, as the supply of migrant workers largely stopped and global supply chains have been disrupted, putting businesses under significant pressure. Households have suffered from lockdowns and job losses, and demand for assistance for vulnerable workers and their whānau has grown hugely. At the same time, we have seen the power and skill of Iwi and communities to connect, engage and get difficult things done, and there is enormous will to harness and continue this momentum and energy.

Many other factors will impact our future. The skills we need are going to change; technology and new ways of working will drive a large part of this, and it’s crucial that we have a workforce that not only has skills for today’s work but is equipped to adapt and grow in the face of whatever changes, or shocks, we may face. This is particularly true for workers who have always been most vulnerable to these shocks.

One of above-mentioned shocks we know we will face is climate change. It’s outside of the scope of this plan to fully outline the climate change narrative for our region, but we know that it will change where we live, how we live and travel, what we grow and where we grow it, and what infrastructure we need. All of these have implications for workforce development; climate change mitigation measures may see decline or growth in employment within sectors and new skills will be needed. To ensure a just transition, intervention will be needed to ensure nobody is left behind and that we as a region have the skills we need.

The way we work is changing. More people are working by distance, and from home, and technology will continue to develop and enable different ways of working. We have a proportion of work that sits outside formal employer-employee boundaries, with no expectations of on-going relationships (the gig economy). These things have significant implications for training provision and responsibilities, as well as the security of work.

Our population is changing. We are growing as a region, the European part of our population is ageing, while the Māori and Pacific populations are younger and will make up larger proportions of the workforce in the future. All of this has implications for skill training and workforce needs. See the section 'Other factors affecting our workforce’ for more on future population:

Other factors affecting our workforce

Finally, and more immediately, our group was born out of the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE), the most significant change to the vocational education system in 30 years. As we implement this plan, we will work closely with the new Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) as they develop better and more responsive skills training that meets the needs of employers, workers, industry and the economy as a whole. While WDCs will set standards, develop qualifications and help shape the curriculum for vocational education, arranging and delivery of training, including work-based learning, will largely be through Te Pūkenga, the new entity which brings together previously autonomous polytechnics. Wānanga and Private Training Establishments will also have a role in delivery. Our advice and collaboration with them will help to ensure our region can access the skills training delivery it needs.