In February 2020, after more than a year of announcements, proposals, submissions and industry consultation, the government’s Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) plan to create a new vocational education system became law.

The Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill saw the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST) officially formed, bringing together all 16 polytechnics and institutes of technology. Stephen Town was appointed CE of the NZIST and later in the year, six deputy CEs were selected. In September, the NZIST was rebranded and Te Pūkenga was launched into the vocational education world.

The Bill also allowed for the formation of industry-led interim establishment boards for the six industry training standards-setting bodies known as Workforce Development Councils (WDCs).

Our CEO Fiona Kingsford was appointed to the Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics (MEL) interim board, which gives her the opportunity to provide industry insight and help facilitate the extensive industry consultation that is ongoing. Her appointment also ensures the 38 industries currently represented by Competenz have a strong voice and a seat at the table as New Zealand prepares for its new era of vocational training.

Despite the COVID-19 curveballs landing at the time, Competenz became a transitional training industry organisation (TITO) in April. Our important mahi to help Kiwi industry grow skills, careers and businesses has continued while transition planning for all of our functions has been ongoing.

The RoVE focus throughout the year has been extensive consultation with industry, other TITOs and the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). This is a major part of the work required to prepare for the transition of our arranging training functions to Te Pūkenga, Skills4Work (Retail Meat training) and ATNZ for their own apprentices; along with the transition of our standards setting functions to the MEL, Primary Industries, Construction and Infrastructure, and Creative, Cultural, Recreational and Technology WDCs, in the third quarter of 2021.

Te Pūkenga and other providers will continue to support the arrangement of training and apprenticeships while six WDCs take responsibility for setting standards for qualifications, units and other skills programmes across all industries.

Fiona Kingsford and our Strategic Advisor Tim Wilson have led the charge up this mountain of consultation, planning and stakeholder management for Competenz, with the unwavering support and expertise of many experienced team members and industry leaders.

In line with our ‘first-mover’ principle we continue to help shape the ‘new world’ and our place in it, with the strong endorsement of our industry, our employers, our people, and board. Competenz remains fully committed to providing support to our industries, employers and learners throughout transition so they can continue to move seamlessly through the vocational education system. We also remain excited by the opportunity to create a new system that better services learners, employers and New Zealand.