Getting to know...

Getting to know...

Last updated 7 February 2020
Last updated 7 February 2020

Jane Duncan, Project Lead, Workforce Development Councils.

With over a decade working at the Tertiary Education Commission, and almost half that time spent in employment-based tertiary education, Jane Duncan is well placed to lead the Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) project as part of the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE).

Jane’s involvement in RoVE began during the public consultation in early 2019, and she joined the programme team as Project Lead in August of that year. Although there is a significant amount of mahi ahead, Jane is excited about how WDCs bring an opportunity to amplify the voice of industry, not just in work-based training but across the entire vocational education system.

The role of WDCs is to help industry take a lead in making New Zealand’s workforce fit for today and the future.

“To me, WDCs are best described as translating industry needs for the education system – what’s needed right now, and what’s likely to be needed in the future. Importantly, WDCs will provide the Government with investment advice so those training needs can be properly supported,” Jane says.

Effective WDCs will mean better outcomes for learners and employers, and better use of provider resources.

“WDCs have a role in validating and endorsing programmes so learners know what they’re learning is actually relevant and necessary for the industry they’re in or aiming to join,” Jane says.

The six industry-led WDCs will cover:

  • Creative, Cultural and Recreation
  • Primary Industries
  • Service Industries
  • Health, Community and Social Services
  • Manufacturing, Engineering, Logistics and Technology
  • Construction and Infrastructure

For Jane and her team, getting the foundations right is critical to making sure WDCs become a respected and valued part of the system.

“WDCs have some new functions we haven’t had before in vocational education. They will be sophisticated organisations made up of passionate and knowledgeable people serving New Zealand industries, and we need to ensure WDCs generate the mana they deserve.”

What’s next?

There will be a steady, phased approach to implementing WDCs and transferring the relevant functions and responsibilities from ITOs. In the short-term, there is no change to training via Industry Training Organisations (ITOs). For example, hiring and training apprentices and staff, and support for training arrangements will continue and ITOs can continue to arrange training until the end of 2022.

It is expected that by mid-2021, all six WDCs should be established and the RoVE team will be working with WDCs and ITOs to manage and support the transition.

Questions or comments?

The RoVE team, including Jane, welcome your feedback and can be contacted at