Regional skills needs – Tertiary Education Commission advice

The RSLG provided this advice to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) in May 2023 to help guide its investment process and decisions for 2024 funding for the Te Tai o Poutini West Coast region.

To shape the recommendations we consulted a wide cross section of stakeholders including central and local government, industry, employers, Māori/iwi, unions, WDCs, and other key community representatives. This advice reinforces training and skill needs in our RWP 2022 priority sectors. 

We also noted in our advice that the training provision must honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi and meet the needs of our changing workforce including those population groups that are underrepresented. The modes of training delivery also need to be flexible and learner focused with better provision for rural communities, industry workforces, and learners.

Accommodation and food services

  • Hospitality and tourism training with a focus on chef training
  • Training that incorporates or focuses on local story telling
  • Micro-credential for employability and soft skills that creates a pathway onto further study and can be offered across industries.

Conservation and biodiversity

  • Certificate in Conservation Skills (operations) Level 4
  • Certificate in Pest Management Level 3
  • Project Management Skills
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Conservation Field Skills Training Scheme
  • Regenerative Destination Management
  • Pest and Predator Control Technologies
  • Cultural Capability for Māori Tourism Guides
  • Conservation Leadership.

Food and fibre (agriculture, horticulture, forestry, aquaculture)

  • Introduction of micro-credentials that incorporate soft/transferrable skills that can also be delivered in schools to create a pipeline and pathway for students into the industry
  • Micro-credentials that support compliance requirements
  • Micro-credentials that support the use of technology on farms to improve business processes
  • Training for migrant workers for ‘essential service’ industries.

Health care and social assistance

  • Micro-credentials and/or qualifications/units for registered and administrative staff
  • Training offered at high schools to enable a pathway into tertiary study, e.g. micro-credentials
  • Pre-health science papers delivered regionally
  • Programmes that support the kaiāwhina workforce
  • Training that enables the ability to complete distance learning. The Bachelor of Nursing, Enrolled Nursing, Return to Nursing and the 2-year master’s pathway are opportunities to ensure education and training can be completed at, or close to a student’s home
  • Earn while you learn for nursing that could mean TEC-funded transition placements
  • Distance learning options for all tertiary qualifications. Studying at distance removes one of the major financial barriers to education and enables access to remote learning
  • Enabling access for rural and remote populations for existing qualifications that cannot be delivered in the region. This could include ring fencing positions for people who come from rural and remote locations
  • A local hub to ensure support for employers and students. Competence assessment programmes and Allied Health Return to Work, particularly Physiotherapy Return to Work could be streamlined
  • Pastoral care – Peer support for students not always available if only 1 student here on placement away from their colleagues
  • Initiatives that address attrition rates for Māori and Pacific people and enable success
  • Change of classification of programme related and student related costs to allow for travel, food, and accommodation to be covered for programme placements.


  • Micro-credentials with learner-focussed modes of delivery
  • Initiatives that remove barriers to further study
  • Driver licence training in schools
  • Plant operator training (including licence and endorsements).


  • Micro-credentials that support the manufacturing industry
  • Initiatives that remove barriers to further study
  • Training that supports digital technologies
  • Leadership and management training.

Emerging industry – Renewable energy

  • Renewable energy is an emerging industry on the West Coast. The Te Tai o Poutini West Coast Renewable Energy Strategy identifies and advances opportunities in hydro, biomass, geothermal, green hydrogen, and other energy opportunities with a focus on viable outcomes that create jobs. 
  • Recommend investment in training that supports the renewable energy strategy including engineering and research science.

Te Tai Poutini West Coast Renewable Energy Strategy [PDF 3.66 MB](external link) — Te Whanaketanga Energy Action Group