Inaugural meeting of Pacific Peoples Strategic Reference Group 25 August 2023 We proudly launched the inaugural talanoa event of Industry LEO, our Pacific Peoples Strategic Reference Group for Waihanga Ara Rau. This was a significant milestone not only for us but for all Workforce Development Councils. The fundamental purpose of the Industry LEO is to provide direction of the vocational education training system for Pacific Peoples in construction and infrastructure. This passionate and highly skilled group of industry professionals will engage in strategic talanoa about the range of complex issues, barriers, gaps, opportunities and trends impacting Pacific workforces in the C&I sector from thriving. On the day, specific challenges and opportunities were discussed that could hinder or improve Pacific learner success: best practice, micro-credentials to grow life skills and confidence, housing projects to meet inter-generational needs, accountability and meaningful collaboration, sector pathways, career choices, systems efforts, and we were even lucky to hear of inspiring career pivot stories. Equally, we also heard that a few of our members were uncertain about where their voice belongs ‘in the system’. This sparked an important and well-overdue conversation about the need to unpack, deconstruct, and further clarify the mechanics of the VET system and give a greater platform to Pacific voices. Crucial to the ongoing work of Industry LEO is uncovering how we create the conditions for our Pacific peoples to thrive and prosper in the constructure and infrastructure sector. As our strategic talanoa progresses, we will be digging deeper into these issues and working to elevate and amplify the experience of our Pacific peoples. Industry LEO will provide input to the TEC investment advice submitted by Waihanga Ara Rau in November and will provide input and feedback for the Pacific Workforce Development Plan due next year.