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An update from Te Pūkenga

October 2020

Kia ora

About this time last month, I was telling you about our new name, Te Pūkenga, that had just been announced by the Minister of Education, Hon Chris Hipkins. A month is a long time in a very new organisation! We've got plenty more to update you on today, with a newsletter that highlights the range of the work we've been doing through October.

A few months ago, Te Pūkenga Chair Murray Strong outlined to me his near-term priorities. They included:

  • Establish a strong, professional and supportive head office function to ensure the capacity and capability required to underpin the Te Pūkenga network transformation
  • Start to develop and define the type of organisational culture the Te Pūkenga network will embrace to ensure learners are at the centre of all our decision making, particularly Māori, Pasifika and learners with disabilities who have all been previously underserved
  • Be nimble and innovative in managing COVID-19 impacts. Take stock of our financial situation and when possible, put in place plans to mitigate the challenges the Te Pūkenga network faces. Use the expertise, size and scale of the network to do this, and play a significant role in helping the country recover from the pandemic

I'm pleased to say we are making good in-roads into all three of these priorities as you’ll see in some of the stories we are sharing this month.

Early next week, our six new DCEs will be formally welcomed into Te Pūkenga with a pōwhiri in Kirikiriroa, where our head office is based. I hope you enjoy reading more about Vaughan and Angela in this newsletter. Next month we'll highlight Ana, Warwick and Tania, and we have already featured Merran. I'm very pleased to now have the leadership team in place to support me and to progress the large and important work programme Te Pūkenga has ahead.

Well-known international management consultant Peter Drucker once said, "culture eats strategy for breakfast". What he meant was that the culture of your organisation plays a significant role in determining its success, regardless of how effective your strategy may be. I am firmly committed to developing a consistent, collaborative culture underpinned by values that are shared by and resonate with everyone in our network. As a start, I want to test how things are going right now.

Earlier this morning, our subsidiary network staff survey, Aromātai Kaimahi, was distributed. The short survey that has gone to about 8,000 staff will establish a benchmark of sorts right now. I want to get a good understanding of how those in the network are thinking and feeling right now. We'll run the survey at least twice each year in 2021 and 2022. I will use the feedback as a 'pulse check', and it will help me and the leadership team to make informed decisions during the transformation of Te Pūkenga in the coming two years.

I'm proud to be part of our 'team of 5 million', working hard to keep the COVID-19 virus at bay in our communities (in comparison to many other countries at least). I'm also proud of the work the Te Pūkenga network are putting into helping support our country to respond to the impacts the global pandemic will continue to deliver. Both subsidiaries and Transitional ITOs have pivoted rapidly to address the lasting impacts of COVID-19 on learners, employers and subsidiaries. As a unified network, with our collective size and scale, there is unlikely to be another time when the central role we play to help the economic and social prosperity of our country will be as vital.

Finally, next week I expect to finalise details of the provider who we will partner with to lead the design of our operating model, and support our vision and strategy to reimagine the delivery of vocational education and training. We've got a once-in-a-generation opportunity to undertake this mahi. It's an opportunity to design a system that is simple to understand and navigate, responsive to the needs of learners and employers, delivers equitable access and outcomes for all learners and is flexible enough to change as the future develops - to help New Zealand thrive in the future of work. Exciting and challenging times ahead.

Please enjoy reading our stories below that outline the range of things we have been doing during the last month. Get in touch with us at info@tepūkenga.ac.nz if you have any questions or would like further information.


Ngā mihi

Stephen Town
Chief Executive

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