During the Reform of Vocational Education consultation, giving greater voice to staff and learners was a recurring theme heard loud and clear through feedback.
It’s vital that NZIST empowers staff and learners to enable the organisation to be responsive to the needs of all regions of New Zealand and their learners, industries, employers, and communities.
Work is now underway to establish a process that will ensure staff and learner committees will be represented on NZIST’s national Council.
The importance of having the voices of the network’s almost 10,000 staff (including the ITO team) and almost 60,000 domestic learners heard loud and clear right from the start just makes sense.
“The strength of the vocational education system is its people – our staff,” says Council Chair Murray Strong, “and learners are who we are here to serve. It is vitally important for Council to hear directly from them to get the system right for now and for the future.”
Co-creating the committee election process
Last month we hosted workshops with staff and learner representatives and unions. The workshops were focused on co-creating the process NZIST could take to establish national committees, and ensuring the process is robust, sustainable, accessible and inclusive.
Participants felt the workshops were a great start, and the unions were pleased with the initial approach NZIST is taking to foster a strong participatory approach.
“The collaborative approach to building the staff committee is really important,” says Sandra Grey, CE of the Tertiary Education Union.
“These are people who day-to-day have to learn to be flexible and adapt and they show it. They don’t have a fixed idea that they hold on to they work with others to create something better. It shows the capacity of the sector to learn and grow.”
Ms Grey was positive about the approach NZIST has taken to forming the committees.
“The skills and talent that have been built inside NZIST on making sure people are around the table is really crucial and appreciated.”
We’re continuing to gather information and insight to inform the process. Our next step will be to develop a survey and feedback process that’s accessible to both staff and learners to share their thoughts.
It will take some time get it right, because the process to set up the committees needs to be fit for purpose and for the future. However, our Council wants to listen to staff and learner voices right now. One interim step is providing existing staff and student unions a regular timeslot within Council meetings to give voice to their ideas and issues directly.
Elections should be underway before the end of the year and establishment of the staff and learner committees will follow as quickly as possible.