Local Insights Report: March 2023

Te Tai Poutini West Coast Local Insights Report: March 2023

You are welcome to quote from any report below – please attribute the Te Tai Poutini West Coast Regional Skills Leadership Group, an independent advisory group on regional skills and workforce development. ​

Westport deep sea fishing school successful in TEC strategic fund bid

Westport deep sea fishing school deep water training.Local private training establishment, Westport Deep Sea Fishing School, recently received $123,500 from the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) Strategic Fund. The funding will be used to revise the existing provision of Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) modules with Industry and Iwi, and to develop the new NZ Certificate in Seafood Processing (Level 3) programme.

The new Level 3 programme will help to meet fishing industry demand for workers, including in the West Coast where half of the school’s current graduates are employed. In 2021 over 83 percent of graduates were placed into full time employment in some of New Zealand’s biggest seafood companies including, Sanford, Sealord and Talleys.

“The new Level 3 programme is a natural pathway for our Level 2 students once they gain employment and are in the seafood industry. We currently have no qualification to offer them and would like to progress their careers beyond the Level 2 Entry and Foundation training” says Westport Deep Sea Fishing School Director Peter Maich.

This will provide a pathway to higher skilled roles for Māori, who make up between 60 and 70 percent of the school’s students. The new programme aligns with the Tai Poutini West Coast Regional Workforce Plan’s focus on Māori success.

TEC has allocated $13 million of strategic funding to 69 PTEs for vocational education initiatives for new vocational education and training initiatives and to support innovative new provision for learners. The full list of recipients is available on the TEC website.

TEC awards $13 million strategic funding to 69 PTEs for vocational education initiatives(external link) — TEC

Mining is central to the West Coast economy and makes a significant contribution to New Zealand’s total gross domestic product (GDP)

In 2022, the GDP of the mining industry was $183.3 million

Mining productivity (GDP contribution per mining job) is more than double that of the average job in the West Coast or New Zealand

  • In 2022, the GDP contribution per mining job was $300,000
  • The average GDP contribution per job in the West Coast was $142,565
  • The average GDP contribution per job in New Zealand was $132,815

Source: Infometrics(external link)

Top labour market opportunities

Momentum building in Māori business development is expected to translate into opportunities on the West Coast. Development West Coast (DWC) has recently appointed Māori Business Capability Advisor Sam Henry, whose role is to identify and work with all Māori businesses to help them achieve their business goals and aspirations. DWC is working with Te Puni Kōkiri (TPK) and local Runanga to optimise opportunities within the region. This directly aligns with Te Tai Poutini West Coast Regional Workforce Plan (RWP) focus area 5.

Area 5: Māori have the skills and knowledge to succeed at all stages of their careers

The annual West Coast Pathways Roadshow will be held 20 June (Westport) and 21 June (Greymouth). The event connects students, job seekers, businesses, employers, training, and employment agencies at the one time, with information available about job opportunities and the skills needed to fill employment gaps in the region. This event directly aligns with RWP key focus area 3.

Area 3: Connecting our employers, educators, and workers to future-proof our labour market

West Coast tourism and hospitality businesses are reporting staffing pressures are easing with the visa processing backlog getting resolved and migrant workers now reaching West Coast tourism and hospitality businesses. Despite staffing pressures easing, the sector is still struggling to attract trained chefs. Te Tai Poutini West Coast RSLG has included a recommendation for investment in chef training as part of its advice to the TEC.

Top labour market challenges

West Coast mayors, chairs and iwi are concerned about the potential impact of the Crown Minerals (Prohibition on Mining) Amendment Bill on the region, which would prevent new mining permits on conservation land. Te Tai Poutini is 84 percent public conservation land, more than any other rohe in New Zealand. Approximately 660 staff are now directly employed in mining with up to 1000 sub service roles directly dependent on the industry. Ngāi Tahu and both runanga Ngāti Waewae and Makaawhio say the policy could result in cultural and economic damage. Ngāi Tahu sources 90 percent of its pounamu – a taonga that is central to its identity and culture – as a by-product from third party mining operations.

Pre-Schools, Primary, Secondary and Area Schools are experiencing ongoing difficulties attracting teachers this year. There is difficulty in attracting teachers of Te Reo, Technology (Hard Materials and Digital Tech), Maths, Chemistry, Learning Support, and Physical Education (PE). Several secondary positions in Te Reo, Maths, Learning Support and PE remain unfilled.

The Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF) ceased on 31 December 2022, resulting in the introduction of fees for some apprenticeships that were otherwise covered by the fund. There are concerns this could also result in a drop in learners engaged in training as the TTAF made a range of training and apprenticeship programmes at sub-degree level free for learners. Upskill is encouraging businesses and apprentices to contact them as they may be able to assist with funding.

Upskill West Coast(external link) — WestCoast.co.nz

Advice to tertiary education commission

All 15 Regional Skills Leadership Groups provided advice to TEC this month to inform investment guidance to tertiary education organisations for 2024 and shape future investment settings.

Te Tai Poutini West Coast advice included insights from the region and had an emphasis on priority sectors as identified in the Regional Workforce Plan: accommodation and food services, health care and social assistance, construction, and manufacturing.

Policy and funding opportunities

Advice included 4 elements:

  1. Key labour skill shortages
  2. Current engagement with workforce development councils and tertiary education organisations around tertiary education activities
  3. Tertiary education specific advice
  4. Insights around careers information

The advice also includes recommendations to support the development of the emerging conservation (nature based) industry. Stakeholders expressed a desire to ‘grow our own’ people and staircase them into the local industry.

A cross section of stakeholders were consulted to shape the advice, including central and local government, industry, employers, iwi, unions, workforce development councils, and other key community members.

Our focus for the next 2 months

Continue implementation of Te Tai Poutini West Coast Regional Workforce Plan, with a emphasis on Focus Areas 4 and 5.

Regional Workforce Plan (RWP) Annual Refresh

Previous local insights reports