Staff and learner voices inform our thinking
Giving greater voice to staff and learners was a recurring theme in the feedback gathered during the Reform of Vocational Education consultation in 2019.
Te Pūkenga is committed to making sure staff and learners are empowered and have a strong voice. This commitment will ensure we are responsive to the needs of all regions of New Zealand and their learners, industries, employers, and communities.
Work is continuing to confirm the process that will establish staff and learner committees, so these groups are directly represented on the Te Pūkenga Council. Once staff and student committees are in place a representative from each committee will be nominated and become a full member of Te Pūkenga Council.
We ran a series of workshops with staff and learner representatives and unions. Alongside this, a survey was shared with all network staff during October to gather wider input on the committee and election process.
The survey asked for comments about who should be represented in the staff committee, what the election process could look like, understanding of the committee purpose, and how the committee should operate.
Almost 700 staff from across New Zealand responded to the survey. Their responses confirmed that the opportunity for staff voices to be heard through these committees was really important. Responses also confirmed that representation needs to reflect all staff groups - academic, administration, learner support roles and others, with recognition that the committees needed to reflect the ethnic diversity of our workforce.
Feedback on the election process reinforced the importance of the elections being established and run in a way that will not be influenced by senior management at subsidiary organisations. A number of respondents felt it was important to make sure that the process was carried out in a way that ensures regional representation is very strong, so this voice can be heard.
In terms of how the committees operate and their focus, the key theme which was highlighted through the survey was a desire for the committees to be two-way channels for communication and consultation. The value of this group being a recognised voice for those they represent, while also being empowered to take information back to their teams and share it, was strongly reflected in the feedback.
Following the survey, some time is being taken to make sure the election process and committee establishment will be carried out in a way that aligns with staff feedback and is fit for purpose and for the future.
The creation of the staff and learner committees will occur alongside the establishment of the Māori committee which is also well underway.
As an interim step, existing staff and student unions continue to have a regular timeslot within Council meetings to give voice to their ideas and issues directly.