The importance of employers in Operating Model design


The importance of employers in Operating Model design

January 6, 2021 | 4 min read

In early December, the first of three employer experience workshops was held in Wellington. training advisors and sector specialists from Transitional ITOs and Te Pūkenga subsidiaries got together to spend time thinking and talking about the experience employers in the construction, infrastructure, manufacturing, engineering and logistics sectors have within the current vocational education and training system.

Reimagining the vocational education and training system is a huge undertaking, and it is vital that key participants have a significant voice in the sector’s transformation process – and that includes employers, business and industry.

Each year about 65,000 graduates from across the broad Te Pūkenga network meet the skill needs of businesses throughout New Zealand. By 2022, we’ll be partnering with around 35,000 employers to deliver training in the workplace. 

For the past few weeks, the operating model project team have been finalising the approach to co-design, creating the co-design team and starting to form the reference groups that will support the process.  The ultimate outcomes of the co-design project are to deliver a plan, in the form of a business case which will outline how Te Pūkenga will transform teaching and learning and create a cohesive sustainable vocational education system that helps improve wellbeing for all New Zealanders and supports a growing economy that works for everyone.  

To help support their idea generation, the co-design team and the reference groups will have access to a range of research insights and information. Some of it already collated during the Reform of Vocational Education journey, and some of it being created now, to flow into the co-design process.  

“Two really important pieces of research that will provide critical insight for the co-design process are the Ākonga at the Centre work that took place over the past few months, and the employer stories we’re working on right now,” says Max Adler, EY service design lead for the operating model project. 

“Having a deep understanding of the barriers, enablers and aspirations of employers, both those who already interface with the vocational education and training system and those who haven’t yet will help us design a solution that helps meet their unique needs,” says Max. 

A total of three full-day face-to-face workshops will be run to gather information from Transitional ITOs and subsidiary staff who work closely to support employers. Their feedback will help create a series of employer stories, that will then be tested and validated with employers themselves. 

“We will engage with a range of employers including by way of employer participant reference groups.  They’ll be encouraged to question and develop our insights and test the concepts the co-design team develop. Collectively, the co-design team and the reference groups will generate an initial conceptual design. Then we will engage right across the country to build out a more detailed design,” says Max. 

Employers, business and industry will have a number of opportunities to get involved in the process, and they will be encouraged to take part to make sure their voices are heard. 

“My role in Te Pūkenga is to be a strong and unwavering champion for employers. They are such a key player in the vocational education system, and as we transform and reorganise teaching and learning, their participation needs to be front and centre. They play as vital a teaching role as our traditional ‘providers’ and much like learners, each employer is unique. One size does not fit all. We need a model that’s simple to navigate, seamless and flexible so that they engage with the VET system in ways that best suits their business,” says Warwick Quinn, Te Pūkenga deputy chief executive employer journey and experience. 

Warwick and Max supported by several specialist facilitators will host two more employer experience workshops in Wellington in January 2021 before using the information they’ve gathered to feed into the co-design process.