Strategic reference groups at the forefront of transformation 22 March 2023 Hold on tight because we’ve been on a mission to transform vocational education, and we’re making some serious headway! In recent months, we’ve established Waihanga Ara Rau Strategic Reference Groups (SRGs) that allow priority groups to partner with us and have a stronger voice in shaping the future of workforce development. In recent months, we’ve established Waihanga Ara Rau Strategic Reference Groups (SRGs) that allow priority groups to partner with us and have a stronger voice in shaping the future of workforce development. The impact of these groups on the industry is going to be monumental. We’re talking about greater insights, guidance, and roadmaps for industry workforce planning. Training providers will have a clearer perspective of what the industry wants and needs, leading to better training outcomes. We’ll make better funding decisions for training provision, leading to increased participation and improved outcomes for underrepresented ākonga. And if that wasn’t enough, we’ll have greater influence within third-party partners, such as in immigration settings. These groups will provide us with strategic advice about workforce requirements and review and endorse advice we give to TEC about skills and workforce plans. We already have several Strategic Reference Groups on the go including: Plumbing, Gasfitting, and Drainlaying Electricity Supply Water Industry Construction & Infrastructure Services Access Trades Finishing Trades On-Site Construction Off-Site Construction But it doesn’t end there, we’re planning to establish further sector-specific, Māori and Pacifica SRGs. Our first meetings have been a huge success. Members of each group have agreed on their Terms of Reference, including how they’re going to run their group, ensuring the right people are included, and what they’d like to focus on for the year on behalf of the sector(s) and industries they represent. Each SRG has a Waihanga Ara Rau General Manager as its sponsor and a Relationship Manager from the Engagement and Partnerships team as its owner. They’ll work closely with the Chair and members of each SRG to ensure meetings are held regularly throughout the year and important topics for each sector or group remain visible and progressed by the wider Waihanga Ara Rau team. Garyth Arago-Kemp, Poururuku Rāngai Taketake, GM Māori, attended the On-site Construction group’s first face-to-face meeting in Auckland at the Jetpark Hotel on 23 February. He says, “The meeting was well attended with 10 members arriving in Auckland to support the direction of these discussions. We had representatives from Roofing, Stonemasonry, Glass & Glazing, Kainga Ora-Build, the construction industry and industry associations present including Certified Builders and Registered Master Builders.” If you’re as excited about this as we are and want to get involved, don’t hesitate to get in touch! Read more about the Access Trades SRG, which was established in November last year.