Waihanga Ara Rau releases Statement of Strategic Direction

Press release: 29 August 2023

Cover of Statement of Strategic Direction publicationWaihanga Ara Rau, the Workforce Development Council for Construction and Infrastructure, has published its Statement of Strategic Direction (SSD) outlining what it intends to achieve for the sector over the next five years. This publication outlines a focused and collaborative approach to shaping the future of Aotearoa, by strengthening the construction and infrastructure industry workforce.

The SSD was developed with the help of people in the sector. This included industry employers and associations, educational institutions, iwi, hapū, and Māori organisations. It highlights the Waihanga Ara Rau commitment to honouring te Tiriti o Waitangi and sets strategic goals to foster trust, inclusion, and success in the industry.

The mahi outlined in this publication builds on what Waihanga Ara Rau has already achieved, which includes:

  • Completing a Workforce Development Strategy with the Electricity Supply Industry. This identified several Strategic Goals and action recommendations about attracting new people to the workforce and the importance of clear career planning for the current workforce.
  • Completing Waters Services projects. These show that 6,000-9,000 extra people are needed in this industry over the next 30 years.
  • Publishing its first Workforce Development Plan. This plan is the starting point for the development of approx. 11 Strategic Sector Workforce Development Plans across the Construction and Infrastructure sectors. It looks at past workforce trends, captures a snapshot of the current workforce and paints a picture of the future. As a living document, it will be updated as we develop Workforce Development Plans for Strategic Industry Groups and ultimately individual industry workforce development plans.
  • Creating the online Workforce Information Platform ( WIP displays national and regional gaps and surpluses within the construction and infrastructure labour market determined by the dollar value of planned and active projects in the pipeline. It shows the occupations and numbers of people we need to put that work in place.
  • Launching online toolkit. This toolkit helps employers hire and retain women and demystifies the construction and infrastructure sector for women.
  • Launching fifteen regional reports as part of the Regional Construction Workforce Planning and Development Project.
  • Reviewed and developed nearly 1,400 standards and over 50 qualifications. This has maintained the currency of industry qualifications and begun the focus on creating a skilled workforce for the future.

The SSD informs how Waihanga Ara Rau will make a difference for industry in the next five years, including its short, medium and long-term focus areas.

Key highlights include:

  1. Achieving success for Māori: Demonstrating a commitment to iwi, hapū, and Māori organisations, ensuring their voices and aspirations guide the sector’s future.
  2. Industry trust and confidence: Building strong relationships, partnerships, and positively influencing the sector.
  3. Transforming the workforce: A commitment to evidence-informed advice, high-quality training, innovative education products, and fostering inclusive future-focused pathways for all industry members.

Philip Aldridge, Chief Executive of Waihanga Ara Rau, said, “Our Statement of Strategic Direction not only lays out our vision for the coming years but stands as a testament to the collective voice and aspirations of those we consulted. It’s not just our roadmap, but a commitment to the industry, Māori, and the wider community.”

This strategic document will guide what Waihanga Ara Rau does in the coming years and will be reviewed to ensure it remains current and effective. It will directly inform the annual Operational Plan (link), detailing deliverables, work plans, outcomes, and success measurements.

Waihanga Ara Rau invites everyone interested in the future of Aotearoa New Zealand’s construction and infrastructure sectors to explore the Statement of Strategic Direction and engage in the discussion.

Media Contact

Kelly Moran, Communications and Marketing Manager, Waihanga Ara Rau.

[email protected] 029 770 5277

About Waihanga Ara Rau

Waihanga Ara Rau is the Workforce Development Council (WDC) representing and supporting the construction and infrastructure sector in vocational education and training.

It is committed to providing a strong voice for the industry while ensuring a future-fit workforce and honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Māori-Crown relations.

Its vision is a construction and infrastructure sector that enables everyone to reach their potential.

Its core functions are to:

  • Provide skills leadership by ensuring our essential building, construction and infrastructure sectors are training new and existing workers to the highest and most consistent standards.
  • Lead the development of industry qualifications, set industry standards and assess training provision against these industry standards.
  • Bring consistency to industry standards and learning outcomes – making sure they are applied across the motu, and all learning modes.
  • Be the voice of industry to represent industry interests as well as being a system leader providing input on policies that matter most to industry.
  • Provide advice to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) on investment in vocational education and determine the appropriate mix of skills and training for the industries they cover.