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.

ITENZ and Waihanga Ara Rau collaborate for success

Today Independent Tertiary Education New Zealand (ITENZ) and Waihanga Ara Rau Construction and Infrastructure Workforce Development Council sign a historic agreement to partner and collaborate to drive further success in the tertiary education sector. Both organisations are committed to working together to draw on their respective strengths to bring to life the transformative changes set out by the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE).

 Six Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) were set up under RoVE to give industries greater leadership and influence across vocational education. Waihanga Ara Rau is one of these new WDCs and holds a strategic view of the skills the construction and infrastructure industries require now and, in the future, with a key focus on giving a stronger voice to Māori enterprise and iwi businesses. Waihanga Ara Rau has a national mandate to set standards, develop qualifications and endorse programmes that are ultimately approved by NZQA.

 ITENZ is a well-networked organisation and represents the full scope of Private Tertiary Education (PTE) across the country. Its members are predominantly involved in vocational education and ITENZ is recognised by Government as the main representative of the PTE sector. ITENZ brings a wealth of experience in strategic leadership, knowledge and specialist expertise.

The new working agreement sets up a framework for Waihanga Ara Rau, and the PTEs represented by ITENZ, to work collaboratively on qualification, credential and standard development and identifying regional needs.

Commenting on this new partnership, Wayne Dyer, Chief Executive of ITENZ says: “This new agreement recognises the importance of working in partnership with Waihanga Ara Rau. We share the same objectives and so it is natural that we collaborate to identify regional skills needs, develop  qualifications, credentials and standards, and  continually improve the way Te Tiriti is embedded in educational practices”.

Further endorsement and acknowledgement of this new relationship comes from Waihanga Ara Rau Chief Executive Philip Aldridge who says:“Change in the VET sector cannot be made by one organisation alone. A founding part of our DNA is to listen, collaborate and learn from those around us. I see this new relationship with ITENZ as a way for us, as key parts of the new system, to complement each other, not compete. This relationship brings us closer to having a cohesive, sustainable vocational education system that improves outcomes for New Zealanders and supports a thriving economy that works for everyone. I believe this will work will ensure learners and communities can fulfil their potential and employers have the right people, with the right skills, at the right time.”

This new partnership is effective immediately, with an initial focus on creating an annual plan that outlines the shared projects and activities the two organisations will work together on.


Note to Editors
Press contact: Kate Pierson,, P. 0274 280110

Press contact: Wayne Dyer,, P. 021 307 087

About Waihanga Ara Rau
Waihanga Ara Rau Construction & Infrastructure Workforce Development Council represents nine industries including Construction, Concrete, Plumbing, Infrastructure, Water, Gas, Electricity, Telecommunication, and Roading.

Waihanga Ara Rau, like all WDCs, leads the development of industry qualifications, sets industry standards and assesses training provision against these industry standards. Where appropriate, WDCs will set and help with capstone assessments at the end of a qualification. Industry standards will be consistently applied across the country, and across all modes of learning, whether on the job (such as apprenticeships), on campus or online. WDCs will also endorse vocational education programmes prior to them being approved by NZQA.


ITENZ and Te Pūkenga enter new partnership

Two vital vocational education and training groups signed a partnership agreement that will see both organisations working collaboratively to meet the objectives behind the massive reform of vocational education in Aotearoa New Zealand – Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, and Independent Tertiary Education New Zealand (ITENZ).

Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, is charged with bringing together the country’s 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics plus Industry Training Organisations.

ITENZ is a well-networked organisation and represents the full scope of private tertiary education across the country. Its members are predominantly involved in vocational education and ITENZ is recognised by the Government as the main representative of the private tertiary education sector.

ITENZ chief executive Wayne Dyer said the partnership recognises the strength of ITENZ members and private training establishments. It includes a joint commitment to equity as Te Tiriti partners and also notes Te Pūkenga charter which requires it to give effect to Te Tiriti in all that it does. ITENZ wants to collaborate, not compete with Te Pūkenga, Dyer said.

“Our members are spread throughout New Zealand, including in regional and rural areas and have a long history of learner-centred vocational education. They are agile, responsive to changing needs and already work closely with employers, the community, and other stakeholders.”

“It is right that we partner with Te Pūkenga because we have shared aims and objectives and together we can achieve more via a more streamlined approach. We are excited about the collaboration opportunities this agreement provides and the improved outcomes we can help drive and be a part of.”

Te Pūkenga chief executive Stephen Town said strong and collaborative partnerships across the sector would be key to the successful reform of vocational education across Aotearoa. Major reform of the sector was announced in February 2019 with Te Pūkenga formally established in April 2020.

“Te Pūkenga recognises the important place that ITENZ and private tertiary institutions already have in the vocational education and training ecosystem. ITENZ will bring strategic leadership, knowledge, experience and specialist expertise to the table and I warmly welcome this partnership,” Town said.

“Together we can use our networks and scale to deliver nationally consistent, learner-centred outcomes wherever people are. Those outcomes will meet the needs of learners, employers and communities and of course, we will continue to have a strong focus on the unmet needs of Māori, Pasifika and disabled learners,” he said.

“In particular, we’re looking forward to sharing the insights we have gained from developing Te Pae Tawhiti – Te Tiriti Excellence Framework.  Between us, we have a lot of knowledge and it is in the interests of all learners, employers and the wider community to share it.”

The partnership agreement comes into place immediately and will undergo an annual review.