Hanga-Aro-Rau - Aligning education with industry

Industry voice is vital to the development of vocational education, especially right now. Employers need to be confident that the training being delivered keeps up with new technologies and innovations so that recruits are work-ready, now and in the future.

Hanga-Aro-Rau Workforce Development Council (WDC) for the Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics works directly with the engineering sector across the country to identify the priorities affecting workforce development, qualifications, attraction and retention, and emerging technologies. 

The manufacturing, engineering and logistics sectors face a projected skills gap of 56,000 workers over the next five years.   We must have a steady influx of skilled recruits, and to do this, we need to rethink how we attract and retain staff and ensure our employers have the skills they need to boost business productivity.  

Hanga-Aro-Rau is committed to industry relevance and ensuring our training is world-class and accessible to all Kiwis. This core function not only benefits employers and training providers but also propels students into promising careers, significantly contributing to the economic prosperity of New Zealand.  

With a portfolio of over 2000 annual engagements, including collaborations with its Industry Stakeholder Group and National Industry Advisory groups, the WDC is proud of the relationships they have cultivated and the in-depth understanding of the industries they serve.  

They are also working hard to create better outcomes for Māori, Pacific people, women, and disabled people. They know diversifying our workforce is essential to address the chronic skills and labour shortages.  

The WDC's unwavering commitment to industry priorities has led to meaningful advancements in workforce development, qualifications, and the integration of emerging technologies, including leading key initiatives that specifically support the Engineering sector. 

Notably, its collaboration with Workforce Central Dunedin and Waihanga Ara Rau led to the development of a new micro-credential, Trades Essentials, designed to offer a foundational pathway into engineering and construction.  

This initiative exemplifies the council's proactive stance in addressing workforce shortages by enabling individuals outside the trades to acquire essential skills.  

Furthermore, establishing the New Zealand Certificate in Fluid Power Engineering (Level 3), a pioneering qualification for the Fluid Power sector, and forming the New Zealand Fluid Power Association highlight the council's ability to respond to and fulfil the industry's needs. 

Recognizing the critical need for skilled CNC workers within New Zealand's manufacturing and engineering sectors, Hanga-Aro-Rau has embarked on a mission to standardize and formalize training pathways.  

By collaborating with industry partners, the council is developing a suite of qualifications and micro-credentials to cultivate a workforce proficient in CNC skills.  

These efforts are pivotal in ensuring that New Zealand's businesses remain productive and competitive by addressing the discrepancies in skill levels across the sectors. 

Hanga-Aro-Rau's distinction lies in its industry-led strategy that encompasses collaborations with government agencies, industry representatives, and vocational education providers, both regionally and nationally. This viewpoint enables the council to tackle systemic workforce development challenges with innovative solutions that have far-reaching impacts. 

As Hanga-Aro-Rau prepares to launch its Workforce Development Plans, including a comprehensive plan for the engineering and manufacturing sector, the council is set to outline a roadmap for industry and educational advancement.  

Developed in close consultation with industry leaders and stakeholders, these plans will include specific, actionable strategies for building a highly skilled, productive future workforce.  

By bridging the gap between the current workforce and emerging industry requirements, promoting inclusivity, and spearheading strategic initiatives, Hanga-Aro-Rau Workforce Development Council is supporting New Zealand's enduring success and competitiveness on the world stage.