AI expert and diversity advocate, Dr Mahsa McCauley, to be featured speaker at the ITENZ Conference

Dr. Mahsa McCauley is a respected Senior Lecturer and the Director of Women in Tech at Auckland University of Technology, School of Computer, Engineering, and Mathematical Sciences. With a strong expertise in AI and machine learning, she is widely recognized as a leader in her field.

Mahsa will be a featured speaker at the 2024 ITENZ Conference in Auckland

Passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion in the technology industry, Mahsa is the founder of She Sharp, a charitable trust dedicated to empowering women in technology through networking and learning opportunities. Through She Sharp, she actively encourages young girls in New Zealand to explore the exciting possibilities of pursuing careers in technology.

Mahsa's efforts to bridge the gender gap in tech have earned her numerous accolades. She was honored as the Emerging Leader category winner in the 2013 Westpac Women of Influence Awards and was a finalist for the prestigious 2018 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year. In recognition of her commitment to equal pay, she received the Champion Award at the 2019 YWCA Equal Pay awards. Her outstanding contributions have also been acknowledged with the Massey University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2020.

Additionally, Mahsa's dedication to cybersecurity and her invaluable contributions earned her the Unsung Hero Award at the Women in Cybersecurity awards in 2023. Her multifaceted achievements and tireless efforts to create positive change exemplify her unwavering commitment to championing women in technology and fostering an inclusive industry.

PTEs deliver a wide range of qualifications and training across New Zealand

New Zealand’s Private Tertiary Establishments (PTEs) provide a wide mix of quality education options for hundreds of thousands of domestic and overseas learners each year.

There are 381 registered PTEs with over 1,300 sites throughout the country. Just over half of these are funded to deliver New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) approved qualifications.

Research commissioned by ITENZ found that during 2022:

  • PTEs offered 1,665 different programmes to learners, leading to 800 qualifications
  • PTEs arranged training for 16,975 industry-based apprentices and trainees, accounting for approximately 11 per cent of all industry-based learners
  • 52,440 learners were enrolled in funded PTEs – 92 per cent were domestic students and eight per cent were fee-paying international learners
  • 2,310 international students were enrolled at unfunded PTEs – including 1,565 at English language schools (ELS)
  • Hundreds of thousands of learners also participated in other programmes at PTEs, including non-formal learning and/or on-the-job training and courses shorter than one full week (e.g., first aid or workplace health and safety)
  • The 184 funded PTEs employed 6,850 staff. However, total staff numbers including unfunded PTEs may be double this number

Read the full article here.

Research shows NZ Private Tertiary Establishments deliver a quality experience for learners

New Zealand’s Private Tertiary Establishments (PTEs) are delivering a quality education experience for domestic learners and international students that adds considerable value to learners, the workforce and the economy. A major new study, commissioned by Independent Tertiary Education New Zealand (ITENZ), conducted by NielsenIQ, and with support from Education New Zealand found that:

  • PTEs perform at a similar level to universities and wānanga on qualification completion rates and better than institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs)
  • NZQA’s external evaluation and review process (EER) places 95 per cent of PTEs in category 1 or 2, indicating high confidence or confidence in their educational performance
  • 91 per cent of PTE international students rate their experience as positive
  • Māori learners at PTEs outperform those in ITPs on qualification completion overall, at all levels except post-graduate
  • Pasifika learners at PTEs achieve higher qualification completion than all other types of tertiary provider.


Read the full article here

75% of New Zealanders believe international students benefit New Zealand

75% of New Zealanders believe international students benefit New Zealand according to a research report published by Education New Zealand. The 1100 respondents identified economic benefits as the most important contribution but also recognised other benefits, such as learning about other cultures. Despite this strong support, there are still some areas of public concern, such as the impact on infrastructure.



Brighter Futures - studying with PTEs

Brighter Futures

Look forward to a brighter future through a private training establishment (PTE), specialists in foundation-level qualifications, diplomas, degrees and apprenticeships.

PEOPLE WHO MAKE the films you watch, run your business’s digital marketing campaigns, make electricity work in your factory or office, maybe even those piloting your plane – chances are they studied with a private training establishment (PTE).

Kia ora magazine


It is one year since we published this article in Air New Zealand's Kia Ora magazine, highlighting success stories from ITENZ-member PTEs. The stories are as relevant today.

Read the full article here


New report provides support for role of WDCs and argues for a greater QA role

A new report by The Business Performance Team states that there is strong support for Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) from industry and other stakeholders and argues that there is a case to give the WDCs a greater role in the QA process.

The report is based on interviews with a range of industry and vocational education system stakeholders and a review of documents from the RoVE development and implementation process. It provides some background, describes the differences between the ITO and WDC systems and highlights what stakeholders value in the new system. It also identifies possible future directions for WDCs, including the suggestion that they pick up more of NZQA’s role.


Read the full report here




ITENZ welcomes new board members

We are very pleased to welcome two new members to the ITENZ Board, Alex McKegg and Patrick Rennell.


At the same time, we say farewell to three long-serving members, Paul Chalmers, Jeremy Sole, and Sandra Hutton.


Patrick Rennell has been involved with the tertiary education sector for over 20 years in New Zealand, Kuwait, and Bahrain. Starting career as tutor and lecturer at Massey University and WelTec he has also held management positions within business schools in Australian College of Kuwait and Bahrain Polytechnic.

Patrick is the Chief Executive of the Horowhenua Learning Centre Trust.  A charitable trust PTE with a focus on youth social services, foundation & vocational education, and employment support. HLC/LTTM is based in Levin with satellites campuses in Palmerston North, Kapiti and the Wairarapa and delivers programmes through literacy & numeracy, Youth Guarantee, SAC 1-2, and SAC 3+ funding. Through its social services and employment operations the Trust also contracts to the Ministries of Education, Social Development, Health, Youth Development and Pacific Peoples.Patrick has a wealth of experience in education management and academic governance. He is the Chair of the Education Horowhenua, a Horowhenua District Council (HDC) education sector steering group, a member of the HDC Community Wellbeing Committee and the Kapiti District Council Education Hub Committee.

He is a strong advocate for the PTEs and the value they bring to the education sector in New Zealand.


Alex McKegg is the Academic Manager (and at times Acting-General Manager) for Edvance Workplace Training. Edvance specialises in delivering workplace literacy and numeracy education. Edvance also delivers foundation skills training in the community utilising Intensive Literacy and Numeracy and ACE funding.

Alex’s prior roles have included those as an Academic Director and as an independent contractor supporting PTE, Wananga and ITPs to build quality systems. This drew on her experience as a Lead Evaluator and Consistency Reviewer for NZQA.

Prior to working with NZQA Alex held a number of leadership and development roles in foundation studies and literacy and numeracy training with the Tertiary Education Commission and Unitec. Alex has been a member of the ITENZ Academic Managers’ forum, Foundation and Bridging Educators NZ (FABENZ) and the Aotearoa New Zealand Evaluation Association (ANZEA).

Alex is passionate about making education accessible, relevant and engaging for all learners. Alex is married to Mark and has three grown sons.


ITENZ Conference 2023 brings together leaders from across the PTE, VET, and international education sectors.

For two days, leaders from across PTE, VET, and international education sectors came together to discuss, question and collaborate on the future of PTEs and tertiary education in Christchurch.

TEC, Chief Executive, Tim Fowler, summed up the mood with a Linkedin post on Day One. “Having a great day at the annual ITENZ conference in Christchurch. PTEs do an amazing job and fulfill an important role in the tertiary education system.”

With over 150 people present, including the Minister of Education, politicians from the four main parties, chief executives and representatives from government agencies, WDCs, and CoVEs, exhibitors from complimentary industries, and delegates from PTEs, the conference provided a wonderful opportunity to learn, share and network.

The chance to network with senior staff from government was described by one attendee as “gold” and another as “awesome” while many others singled out networking with fellow providers, speakers, and exhibitors as a highlight.


“Brilliant conference, great organisation and opportunities to network.”


Delegates were treated to a wide range of plenary and breakout sessions. Alan Kan’s session on ChatGPT was particularly popular, as were sessions resilience, wellbeing, engaging wahine Māori and an update on international education. A highlight on Day Two was the political panel, comprising representatives from the four main political parties presenting their policies.

In feedback, 98% of respondents gave the conference 4 or 5 out of 5 on the satisfaction scale.


“Having the ability to network was awesome. The food was incredible! Coffee even better! The Trade Stands were great also. Always good to get insight into other options for Student Management systems etc”



Winners of 2023 ITENZ Excellence Awards

ITENZ Excellence Award winners for 2023 announced


“An exemplary role model for all who serve in the tertiary learning sector,” is how the adjudication panel described the recipient of the 2023 ITENZ Ako Aotearoa Supreme Award*, Sue Townshend

Sue Townshend

Sue, Academic Quality and Services Director at Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand, was also the recipient of the ITENZ Outstanding Performance Award, sponsored by Wisenet, in recognition of her ongoing commitment to reflective practice and the clear links from her extensive professional development choices to meeting learner, staff, organisational and community needs.

Jenny Jenkins (right) receives the Outstanding Performance Award on Sue Townshend's behalf from Carol Leoncini (Wisenet).

The judging panel was impressed by Sue’s exceptional contribution to the outcomes of learners. She facilitates support for students to achieve their individual goals by organising academic skills workshops, providing online academic resources and scaffolding activities, incentivising the students in a range of ways, and following up on every students’ pathway to success. The adjudication panel agreed that they were looking at “a super outstanding member of Le Cordon Bleu’s staff. “

Sue is a very deserving winner of both awards.

The awards were accepted on her behalf by Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand’s General Manager, Jenny Jenkins.

Jenny Jenkins (right) receives the Supreme Award on Sue Townshend's behalf from Ako Aotearoa's Ruth Peterson and Sam Kelly.

*The ITENZ Supreme Award is always awarded to a recipient of one of the other ITENZ Awards


Mission Ready, “a provider at the edge of innovation, striving for learner-focused outcomes,” was the winner of the 2023 ITENZ Provider of the Year Award, sponsored by Public Trust.

Chris Moore (Public Trust) and Ruth Peterson (Ako Aotearoa) present the Provider of the Year Award to Diana Sharma and Alana Kan from Mission Ready

Mission Ready focus on real-world learning through project-based environments, ensuring students are work-ready but staircased through a supportive and safe process. This is evident in the high progression rates from level 4 to level 6 programmes and the achievement and employment outcomes.

They embrace technology's ongoing evolution and constantly push the boundaries to meet student and industry needs. Gamification software is used to enhance student engagement and micro-credentials have been designed to be more targeted to industry needs, providing flexibility in a rapidly changing industry.  Regular work-based internships are made possible through established relationships with 150 industry partners.

Looking ahead, continued investments are being made to integrate learnings from AI technologies.

ITENZ is delighted to acknowledge Mission Ready through this award.


People Potential, were recipients of a Highly Commended Award in the Provider of the Year category. The panel commented, in particular, on their strong community focus and strong matauranga Māori pedagogy.

Chris Moore (Public Trust) presenting the Highly Commended Award to Rachel Shaw and Sarah Currie from People Potential

Raymond Trancel from Etco wins ITENZ/Ako Aotearoa Supreme Award ITENZ Award, 2022

A Tutor credited with giving 110% to help learners finish their apprenticeship has, this year, scooped the top prize at the Independent Tertiary Education New Zealand (ITENZ) Awards.

Raymond Trancel, currently a tutor at The Electrical Training Company (Etco), a PTE (Private Training Establishment) that also operates a group apprentice employment scheme, took out the 2022 Ako 

Aotearoa-sponsored ITENZ Supreme Award for his exceptional contribution to learners and their surrounding community.
In giving the Supreme Award to Raymond, the judging panel recognised how an exceptional tutor can make a vital contribution to an organisation and support learners to achieve excellent results.
Raymond was also the recipient of the 2022 ITENZ Tutor of the Year Award.
Raymond Trancel (centre) with Ruth Peterson (Ako Aotearoa) and Steve Exley (Tribal Group)
The annual ITENZ awards, recognise, encourage, and celebrate excellence in independent tertiary organisations. The awards provide opportunities for organisations to showcase what they do best, to share good practice, and for students and staff members to be rewarded for achieving excellence.
Two awards in total were presented at the two-day ITENZ 2022 Annual Conference
   • Tutor of the Year Award – Raymond Trancel, Electrical Training Company (Etco)
       • Highly Commended – Jude Robinson, Pacific Coast Technical Institute
   • Supreme Award– Raymond Trancel, Electrical Training Company (Etco)

More about the Award winners:

Ako Aotearoa Supreme Award
The judging panel has conferred the Supreme Award in 2022 on the recipient of the Tutor of the Year Award, Raymond Trancel.
This award is made in recognition that a category winner has made an outstanding contribution to advancing the best possible outcomes for learners.
Raymond is a tutor par excellence, his passion for the sector and for teaching is unparalleled. In addition, he is committed to his own lifelong learning.
Unusually, perhaps, Raymond left a management role to return to full-time teaching.  Results have included the development of Zoom programmes for apprentices in remote locations and the seamless continuity of learning throughout periods of lockdown. He is committed to increasing the number of qualified female electrical inspectors in New Zealand and is passionate about Etco’s foundation programme to enable those who don’t have the necessary NCEA credits to enter an apprenticeship. His contribution to the wider environment has resulted in other registered electricians considering teaching as a career. Raymond uses innovative assessment approaches and makes changes based on feedback and reflection.  Congratulations Raymond on being a well-deserving recipient of the Ako Aotearoa Supreme Award, for 2022.
Tutor of the Year Award – sponsored by Tribal Group
Raymond Trancel from the Electrical Training Company (Etco) is awarded Tutor of the Year.
‘You can train someone to teach but there is one thing you cannot train into someone and that is passion, and Raymond has bucketloads of passion for learning and imparting teaching.’ This is from Etco’s General Manager Learning.
Many student comments demonstrate Raymond’s wide range of teaching strategies and techniques including, ‘Raymond has great techniques for getting people to understand. Once he was explaining power factor unity to me – and used the example of a pint of beer and the froth on top to help me understand’.
Raymond’s teaching and learning practices are respectful of gender, inclusive of learning environments, build positive and authentic relationships, and use formative assessment to monitor what his students can do and what they need to build on. “Raymond is the reason I was able to finish my apprenticeship. I was struggling but Raymond was always there, willing to give 110 percent to help me and others – and he got us across the line”.
At the Electrical Training Company (Etco) Raymond hasn’t just made changes to his teaching approach as a result of reflection on feedback, he’s led changes to the feedback process itself, developing more accessible online surveys so that all can learn from them.  That has resulted in much richer feedback from all sorts of students.
Background on the Awards
The aim of these prestigious awards is to recognise, encourage and celebrate excellence in independent tertiary organisations. The awards provide opportunities for organisations to showcase what they do best, to share good practice, and for students and staff members to be rewarded for achieving excellence.
The nominations and portfolios for the ITENZ Awards in 2022 have been of an exceptionally high standard. As a result, this year, ITENZ have additionally provided a Highly Commended award.
The Supreme Award supported and sponsored by Ako Aotearoa
This prestigious and significant award- was inaugurated in 2017. It is supported and sponsored by Ako Aotearoa and carries a prize of $2,500.
Ako Aotearoa is New Zealand’s national centre for tertiary teaching excellence. The organisation is focused on building educational capability for learner success and supports the tertiary sector to raise the standard of teaching and learning practice, so that all learners can benefit and be successful.