Forums build momentum for new national institute

Forums build momentum for new national institute

Last updated 7 February 2020
Last updated 7 February 2020

The New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST) (working name) will be a sustainable, national network of regionally-accessible vocational education and training. It will start by bringing together the existing 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics that will over time develop the capability to support work-based, provider-based and online learning in a unified system.

In December, three important forums were held to start discussions about the opportunities and challenges for different functions under the new national Institute.

Te Tūhonotanga: ITP CEs and Board Chairs reconnect

In early December, Chief Executives and Board Chairs from across the 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) came together in Christchurch under the banner Te Tūhonotanga – reconnecting. It was the first time this group had been together in the same room with a common purpose and it provided an opportunity to ask questions, share concerns, and build relationships on the journey to 1 April and beyond.

During the day, key people involved with the reform programme listened to concerns around what the change might bring to different regions and its effect on staff and learners. There was strong affirmation for the need to hear Māori/iwi voices as the many moving parts of the reform are implemented. Across the room there was general agreement that the sector needed to change, with many vocal about where they see change is needed.

Overall, it was a day of coming together and reconnecting. Acknowledging the very present challenges in the sector for many training providers, Establishment Unit Executive Director Murray Strong encouraged leaders to respond to their operating environment responsibly, emphasising that the work being done between now and 1 April is laying the foundation for the NZIST Council to keep taking steps towards a unified system of vocational education after that date.

Leading through change: HR leaders build momentum for new Institute

Human Resource (HR) leaders from around the country gathered in Wellington in December to share ideas on the change processes involved with the creation of a unified system of regional delivery for vocational education and training. We caught up with Mark Broadbent, Director of People and Capability at WelTec/Whitireia, who coordinated the forum.

“We have experience, ideas and we are very positive about the changes that the RoVE programme is offering. We all identified strongly with the change management involved over the transition period. We are aware that one side of change management is structure, but there’s a need to bring people together to unite behind a new vision and direction.”

Guided by the vision of a unified, national network of provision that delivers quality, consistency, accessibility and mobility for learners, employers and staff, forum participants discussed ideas and approaches for a change management strategy.

Forum participants highlighted the need for consistency across HR data and reporting. With the current Institutes using a variety of different HR systems and processes, they agreed to initiate an internal stocktake to understand what is working well and what represents best practice. This work will inform recommendations to guide the incoming Council of the new Institute.

The HR group also recognise that they need closer working relationships with Industry Training Organisations to better understand the different environment of work-based learning so each group can more effectively support each other and work together through the transition.

Meeting of the minds: sector marketing leaders connect

Marketing leaders from across the sector came together at Wintec in Hamilton in December to work on mid-term marketing recommendations for the new national Institute. Coming from both ITOs and ITPs, 35 people brought their regional strengths, knowledge and experience to the forum.

The goal was to come up with recommendations for the incoming NZIST Council so that marketing activity serves learners and employers and is able to be implemented across subsidiary ITPs and transitional ITOs.

What was the result?

Forum participants tackled potential challenges for the new Institute, including questions around how to ensure consistent and coordinated branding and vision in a parent-subsidiary environment while improving efficiency, reducing unhealthy competition and avoiding confusion.

To ensure ongoing coordination of marketing activities, the group identified the need for central guidance and collaboration, potentially through a thought leadership group comprising marketing leads from subsidiary ITPs and transitional ITOs. As well, participants saw the need for ‘business as usual’ marketing activity to continue alongside the introduction of the parent brand as it becomes stronger over time through a planned implementation programme.

To read the full articles, visit the IST Establishment Unit news site.

Marketing leaders present their ideas at the marketing forum held at Wintec on 11 December 2019

ITP CEs and Chairs convene at a hui in Christchurch on 5 December 2019