WDCs sign Memorandum of Collaboration with the New Zealand Defence Force

Press release: 6 June 2023

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has signed a Memorandum of Collaboration (MoC) with New Zealand’s six Ohu Ahumahi Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) to further aid one of the things it already does extremely well; developing its people through workplace training.

The MoC provides a framework for the WDCs and the NZDF to contribute to productive and valued outcomes in vocational training and education.

NZDF and WDC personnel

NZDF personnel and representatives from Ohu Ahumahi (WDCs) at the signing of the MOC.

NZDF is one of the country’s largest and most versatile training-focused organisations. It offers its personnel more than 100 vocational qualifications complementing their military and trade training. With achievement rates at over 90 percent, the NZDF is a proven effective training organisation, its personnel achieving comparable success rates across all ethnicities, genders, and other communities.

The six WDCs – Ringa Hora, Muka Tangata, Hanga-Aro-Rau, Waihanga Ara Rau, Toi Mai, and Toitū te Waiora – are the bodies that develop vocational qualifications and assessment standards for the workforce for training and education providers to deliver. It’s vitally important that the right skills are being developed and credentialed within the nation’s workplaces. The signing of the MoC provides a framework for the NZDF and the WDCs to identify these skills and support their assessment using qualifications that align with the workplace.

Waihanga Ara Rau Chief Executive, Philip Aldridge, says, “We are thrilled to be a part of this Memorandum of Collaboration with the New Zealand Defence Force. The significance of this partnership lies in the shared vision we uphold for people – to create a productive, versatile, and qualified workforce. The NZDF values its personnel not just as members of the defence force but as individuals committed to lifelong learning. In line with this, our role is to ensure that the qualifications we develop serve their needs, enhancing their capabilities and empowering them within and beyond their military and trade training.”

Ringa Hora is the WDC that focuses on the nation’s services sector. Chief Executive, Kari Scrimshaw, says the MoC is a great opportunity for WDCs and the NZDF to understand each other’s needs.

“They (NZDF) get a chance to tell us their longer-term strategic needs, and we can think about how we might meet those needs collectively,” she says. “It’s a highlight of what the new vocational system might become.

“Like all good relationships, WDCs and NZDF start with a common uara (value). In this case, it is developing people and a shared desire to nurture and develop potential through good work-based learning opportunities. However, collaboration takes more than interest and intention. It takes hard work, trust and commitment. With the signing of this MoC, our collaborative journey has begun.”

The Commander of the New Zealand Defence College, Group Captain Bernadette Pothan, sees the signing of this memorandum as signifying, saying, “Both organisations’ commitment to work together to ensure that NZDF ākonga (students) have continued access to qualifications, following the New Zealand Government reimagining of the delivery of vocational education.”

“While the alignment of qualifications to defence training assists the NZDF to meet its operational responsibilities, it also supports NZDF personnel to develop dispositions as lifelong learners who seek future qualification opportunities.”

Ringa Hora will take the lead role among the WDCs as the defence sector falls under its remit, but all the WDCs are involved because of the vast range of qualifications NZDF personnel seek.

The MoC is another step forward in realising the vision of Ohu Ahumahi – the collective WDCs, where people are at the centre, with endless possibilities to choose their own path, and where businesses thrive and are empowered to determine their own direction.

As part of the MoC, the NZDF will set up a leadership group that includes managers from all WDCs. The parties will meet up to three times a year to look at shared interests and ensure that qualifications meet the needs of NZDF’s workforce.

Press Contact WDCs: Talia Brown, P. 022 0103 662

Press Contact NZDF:  Defence Public Affairs, P. 021 487 980