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WDC Design Group excited about the future of Vocational Education

WDC Design Group excited about the future of Vocational Education

Last updated 17 April 2020
Last updated 17 April 2020

The Workforce Development Council Design Group’s first session, held online on Friday 3 April, was met with passion and motivation. The 11-strong Design Group is a key part of the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE), helping industry to take a lead in making New Zealand’s workforce fit for today and the future through six Workforce Development Councils (WDCs).  

The Design Group has an innovative role in the WDC establishment process, tasked with developing generic high-level requirements and recommendations for the operational design of the WDCs. The Design Group’s work will be used primarily by the WDC Establishment Boards but may also be considered by the WDC Establishment Working Groups.

Although Covid-19 means that face-to-face conversations can no longer happen, RoVE stakeholders — like the Design Group — are motivated and want the work involved with the reform to continue during this time. WDC Lead Jane Duncan says RoVE is progressing where it can and the views and priorities of stakeholders remain very important.

“Our first session with the Design Group was incredibly encouraging as the sentiment across the group was that the reform remains instrumental to a stronger, unified and more sustainable vocational education system and a brighter future for Aotearoa. We look forward to future sessions and the opportunity to explore design options for WDCs.”

Design Group member Erin Simpson, a capability leader in the horticulture industry, says he is humbled to be a part of the WDC design. Erin will be able to draw on his experience with teaching and programme development in the education sector as part of the process. 

“The new system will create strong vocational education pathways for people, setting them up for solid careers,” he says.

“A key part of the WDC work is developing a robust understanding of what industry requires and what education and training learners need to meet these requirements. This will continue to change significantly over time and Covid-19 is creating a more accelerated need for the reform.”  

Design Group member Alan Cadwallader, the Executive Director of Open Polytechnic NZ, also shared these views during the first session. “Having the opportunity to design the Workforce Development Councils is a real privilege. It’s important that we can enable a match between the skills learners are gaining through education and training and the skills needed by employers now and in the future. Part of this is understanding the work and careers that young people will be pursuing in 25-30 years’ time.”

Erin and Alan’s views were also expressed by the wider Design Group. A Reference Group, made up of 36 members including representatives from currently underserved learner groups, employers, industry, unions, providers and senior leaders, will test and refine the Design Group’s initial design options to ensure they are fit for purpose.

The Design Group and Reference Group will work together to ensure design process outputs enable the six WDCs to deliver their functions effectively and provide strong and effective ways for industry voices to be heard.  

Keep an eye out for more updates on RoVE and the Design and Reference Groups as progress is made over the coming weeks.