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.