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Operating Model FAQs

  • Te Pūkenga is a new organisation bringing together Aotearoa New Zealand’s Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) and Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) into one unified vocational education and on-the-job learning network.
    Once fully established, Te Pūkenga will provide a flexible combination of campus-based, online and work-based learning to meet the needs of learners and employers.

    Our aim is to create a unified, sustainable public network for regionally accessible vocational and on-the-job learning.
    Our role is to create a new tertiary education provider, harnessing the collective strengths of the current network, that is focused on the learner and employer.
    The Education and Training Act sets out a Charter for Te Pūkenga – a set of enduring principles for the way that Parliament expects Te Pūkenga to operate.

    Those principles guide us in implementing the vision and provide us with clear expectations around:

    • Te Tiriti o Waitangi – including delivering partnership, participation, protection and equity
    • putting learners at the centre
    • working collaboratively, collectively and inclusively through partnerships
    • creating quality international education
    • striking the right balance between delivering transformational change and our core business, and
    • being accountable to all stakeholders.

    In 2019, Education Minister Hon Chris Hipkins announced a proposal to strengthen New Zealand’s vocational education system. Following public consultation, seven key changes were agreed as part of the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) programme.
    One of these, the establishment of Te Pūkenga, is aimed at creating a unified, sustainable, public network of regionally accessible vocational education.
    Prior to RoVE there were 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics and 11 Industry Training Organisations, all competing for the same learners. This led to duplication of programmes and nationwide recruitment activity.

    The purpose of Te Pūkenga is to provide excellent opportunities for learners and their whānau, employers, and communities to support the needs of Aotearoa New Zealand now and for the future.

    Our vision is ‘Whakairohia he toki, tāraia te anamata | Learning with purpose, creating our futures’.

    Te Pūkenga is driven by our Charter which is a legal document and also by the Minister of Education’s Letter of Expectation.

    Te Pūkenga is grounded in nine outcomes that reflect our Charter:

    1. Give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi in all that we do.
    2. Provide exceptional learning experiences and equitable outcomes for Māori.
    3. Be learner centred. Recognise the diverse and unique needs of all learners, with a focus on the unmet needs of Māori, Pacific and disabled learners, and staff, to empower diversity, belonging, and wellbeing.
    4. Partner with employers to deliver relevant work-integrated education that meets skills needs.
    5. Be responsive and empowering to staff and learners.
    6. Become a connected and future focussed education provider driven by innovation, collaboration, research, data driven decision-making and teaching excellence.
    7. Delivering regional flexibility and nationally consistent outcomes. Create barrier-free access, mobility across, and clear pathways within the network for learners.
    8. Become a sustainable network of provision creating social, economic, environmental, physical, spiritual and cultural wellbeing.
    9. Focus on efficient and cost-effective delivery across the network.

  • The Operating Model describes how Te Pūkenga will operate in the future. It describes the future experience that learners, employers, staff and iwi, hapū and Māori will have and how we, as a network, will advance equity, especially for Māori, Pacific, and disabled learners.
    The Operating Model outlines the functions of the organisation (what we will deliver) and the services (how we will deliver them) to achieve our vision, the intent of the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) and our Charter.

    The Operating Model does not confirm our new organisational design and structure, how we govern ourselves or what our regions are. It provides the foundations to be able to have further kōrero around this in the next stage.

    After extensive research, insights, and discussions with our network of Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics and Industry Training Organisations, we designed and developed an initial high-level design of our Operating Model.
    Over the first part of 2021 we co-designed a set of ideas for potential services that could remove barriers to learning and connect with employers. These became the service concepts for our Operating Model. We presented these to our network, including employers, during the middle of the year, and the feedback we received has helped inform the Operating Model.

    Research used to inform the Operating Model includes (but is not limited to):

    You can find these reports on the Publications page.

    Our Operating Model puts learners and their whānau at the centre (te rito). This is in partnership with our staff, employers, and Te Tiriti o Waitangi partners (te awhi rito) who wrap around and support the learners.

    Our Operating Model is based around describing the future functions of our network and how they are grouped to transform the way vocational education is delivered in Aotearoa New Zealand.

    All the functions can be grouped into three areas:

    1. Teaching, learning, support and navigation functions for successful learner and employer journeys. These functions determine how we interact directly with learners, their whānau, and employers to deliver high quality education and effective holistic wellbeing support. We orient the whole model towards these functions, to ensure that the needs of our learners and their whānau remain at the centre of what we do.
    2. Enabling functions sustain the other functions and the information flows between them to enable quality, certainty, and consistency across the network. Bringing together these core enabling functions also drives economies of scale and reduces duplication within the network.
    3. Strategic functions that interact with and support other parts of the network and system to form strategic insights and embed the network’s strategic direction. They identify opportunities for innovation, measure the impacts of initiatives and interventions, and the network’s performance.

    You can find detail on the functions from page 26-33 in the proposed Operating Model.

    Ako networks are formal networks of teams who come together to use their knowledge, skills and competencies to support delivery of vocational and on-the-job learning, including degree and postgraduate programmes.
    They will support the development of fully integrated learning options across all modes of delivery that may vary from learner to learner or employer to employer.
    Through sharing ako (teaching and learning) we will empower staff to drive excellence in moderation, and quality assurance, completing formal capability development together, and enhancing and maintaining curriculum and resources. These groups will include members from a range of other organisations – such as Workforce Development Councils (WDCs), Centres of Vocational Excellence, industry, employers and Māori partners – that come together for certain activities to ensure Te Pūkenga stays connected as a network and relevant.

    Our proposed Operating Model will provide opportunity to deliver impact at a regional level by championing initiatives specific to a region and/or community. We call these regional collective impact initiatives.
    Regional Collective Impact is about empowering our Ako network to deliver impact at a regional level by championing initiatives specific to a region and/or community.
    As an organisation, we will work with partners on big challenges and contribute to a shared kaupapa. These will be challenges or problems or opportunities that may be bigger than any one organisation can respond to and our partners could include the Iwi, Industry, Employers, Communities, Marae / hapū or Government agencies, such as MSD or MBIE.

    No, they’re not confidential and feel free to share with others, the more feedback we receive the better. All the information is available online at tepukenga.ac.nz/opmodel

    Three phases make up the process of confirming Te Pūkenga Operating Model:

    1. Engagement on the proposed functions, with consideration to creating a single hub network for some functions alongside distributed delivery across the regions.
    2. Engagement on the draft detailed functional model, draft organisational design and proposed Operating Model
    3. Consultation on the proposed organisational structure and Operating Model. 


    We will be presenting the proposed Operating Model to the Minister of Education in December, with feedback from phase one of engagement. This will be for the Minister to consider endorsing the model, not approving at this stage, recognising that further engagement and consultation will happen in early 2022.

    The organisational design and final draft of the Operating Model will be released in February 2022 for consultation through to April 2022.
    The determination of this consultation – including structure will be released in May 2022. An implementation plan of how and when that structure and Operating Model will be applied will be included. This will be a significant piece of work and will take some time to undertake, so we can expect this to be a phased approach transitioning us all through into 2023 and beyond.

  • An Operating Model is key to guiding the way we work in the future and involves all of us.
    We want to make sure we hear from a range of voices to make sure we’re on the right track and that our proposed Operating Model works for those who will ultimately work, and learn, within it.
    Your feedback is valuable in helping the development of the model.

    This process is part of an ongoing conversation about the Operating Model and we are engaging with stakeholders to seek their views. In the new year, further design will occur. If that design indicates potential changes to functional or structural models, and specifically any potential impact on positions, then we will formally consult with staff to seek their feedback. That will follow a similar process to this one.

    Your feedback will be collated and used to help confirm the Operating Model which will then guide future conversations with you about our governance structure, regional boundaries and organisational structure. We will be reporting back on the feedback we received from this engagement exercise in due course via your Chief Executives.

    We have already engaged on the ‘connecting services’ (service concepts) so are not looking for further feedback on that. For further detail on each service concept, see Appendix 8: Service Concept Detail in the Operating Model document. However, everything else is open for feedback. In particular, we are asking you questions on:

    • Ako networks
    • the proposed functions of the Operating Model
    • how Te Pūkenga is giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    • how the Operating Model responds to the objectives of RoVE
    • and any general comments you have on the proposed Operating Model and Te Pūkenga.

    We’ve provided some questions for each of these topics to get you started at yourvoice.tepukenga.ac.nz

    We encourage everyone to provide feedback through our online tool at yourvoice.tepukenga.ac.nz

    We have provided a range of questions for you to give feedback on. You can comment on all or as many as you like.

    Within the site you can see feedback from others and engage with it or provide your own thoughts. You also have the option to provide feedback confidentially via this platform.

    You can also choose to provide feedback by email using this feedback form and emailing it to yourvoice@tepukenga.ac.nz.

    Yes. You can request to speak with someone by emailing yourvoice@tepukenga.ac.nz.

    No, but you can print and complete this feedback form. Completed forms can be emailed to yourvoice@tepukenga.ac.nz.

    Yes. If you need any support, please email yourvoice@tepukenga.ac.nz and we can arrange for someone to help you via email or phone.
    We also encourage you to talk to your peers, whānau, union or manager.

    If you need support in how to use the ‘Your Voice’ online space, you can find the user guide here.

    You have the option of submitting your feedback confidentially which means that others in the network will not see your responses.
    If you provide feedback anonymously, the team managing the feedback at Te Pūkenga will see who has provided the feedback. This is important to ensure all feedback is considered within the right context and ensures any follow up questions on feedback can be made. Your details will not be shared further than the team managing the feedback.

    Yes, you can consider the questions and comment as a group.
    When submitting feedback via the online platform, there is a place for you to indicate that it is a group submission. You can also complete the feedback form and submit it as part of a group by sending it to yourvoice@tepukenga.ac.nz.

  • All feedback we have received to-date has been considered and has informed and influenced the development of this proposed Operating Model.

    Consultation will occur on what functions, structure and capabilities will best support the vision of Te Pūkenga from February 2022 and you will be involved in that process. We’ll keep you updated as soon as exact timeframes are confirmed.

    The proposed Operating Model presents the proposed functions of Te Pūkenga – groups of activity that will form our way of working, so the focus is on functions and not roles.

    If you think that the functions you perform in your role are not captured in the functional groupings we’ve proposed, please provide that feedback as part of this process and make a suggestion about where your function best fits.

    The proposed model distinguishes between functions that are proposed to be brought together under a ‘single hub network’, and those that will have ‘distributed delivery’ across the regions.
    These terms aim to identify where responsibility and direction come from as opposed to impacting on structure or where we do our mahi.
    Single-hub network function is intended to be a single point of strategic decision making, oversight and co-ordination. This does not mean one single location. Distributed function supports responsiveness to regional, equity and diversity needs.
    Once the delivery of functions is further developed, the structural design will need to take this into account and any potential changes will be fully consulted on next year.

    The future experience we are creating is one where staff genuinely feel Te Pūkenga is a great place to work, they are meaningfully involved in improving the lives of learners and their whānau, have access to the resources and information they need, feel supported by and connected to their ako networks, and have influence to continually improve the network.
    We’re committed to working towards equity for staff of different genders, ethnicities, cultures, and abilities as set out in our Charter and making sure staff are empowered and have a strong voice. We value diversity in our workplace and will grow a workforce representative of the diversity of our learners and their communities.

    The proposed Operating Model has been designed with the understanding that other TITOs may join in the future. Feedback is welcome from TITOs who have not yet decided on how they will operate in the future.

    Given the number of people who are invited to provide feedback, we do need to keep to the feedback timeframes. You can still access CitizenLab or the feedback template remotely while away from work to provide your feedback, and you can also be part of a group submission.

    You have the option to submit your feedback confidentially via the online platform. If you choose to do this, then no – your feedback will not be shared with your Polytechnic/TITO/WBL Business Division.

    If you do provide feedback anonymously, the team managing the feedback at Te Pūkenga will see who has provided the feedback. This is important to ensure all feedback is considered within the right context and ensures any follow up questions on feedback can be made. Your details will not be shared further than the team managing the feedback.

    Given that around 60% of all Te Pūkenga learners are learning in the workplace (and we want to increase this), your knowledge and views are important. This is your chance to provide feedback on the Operating Model which will inform the more detailed discussion in 2022 about organisational design and the structure of Te Pūkenga.

    We continue to actively engage and work with both the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) and the Tertiary Institutes Allied Staff Association (TIASA) on the proposed Operating Model.
    Both unions will also have an opportunity to provide feedback, just like anyone else in the network.

    A single hub network function is intended to support a single point of strategic decision making, oversight and co-ordination. This does not mean they will be in one single location.  These activities drive quality at scale and can deliver a common approach for supporting the learner journey.

    Ako Networks are formalised networks of teams that deliver teaching and learning, and support the application of work-based skills across the country, for a specific group of qualifications and/or credentials. They reflect the collective capability of our diverse network.

    The Reference Groups currently being established for programme development/unification mahi (e.g. Social Work, Nursing) will not become the Ako network for that discipline. The reference groups were established to gain input from learners, communities and employers on how the unified programmes are developed. Ako Networks will include everyone, with people coming together in various groups for different purposes/activities.

    The Ako networks will be established as part of the Operating Model mahi. We will facilitate a co-design process to support this. You will have an opportunity to be part of shaping these networks to ensure they will work in practice. Therefore, we will be relying on subject matter experts to play a leading role in establishing these networks.

    Through this round of engagement and later consultation, we hope to hear from you on how best these qualifications should be grouped.

    The Ako networks reflect the collective capability of our diverse network, both within and across subject disciplines. The cross-disciplinary teams of experts in particular fields will work together with the discipline based Ako networks. They’ll work together to deliver on certain outcomes for teaching and learning and to support the application of work-based skills across the country, for all qualifications and/or credentials.

    There will be many examples of existing groups that are working well and producing some great mahi. We want to leverage and potentially scale this for the benefit of the wider network, and ultimately learners and employers.

    For the majority of teaching staff, it will be obvious which Ako network/s you will naturally be part of based on your areas of discipline. If it’s not obvious or you don’t see yourself in any network, please provide your feedback as part of this engagement process.

    Yes, you will be part of an Ako network/s by default, based on your role to support the application of work-based skills, and the delivery of teaching and learning. Your specific contribution and level of involvement may vary depending on your role.

  • Our learners are at the centre of everything we do. What you need for success guides our decisions and te changes we make to how you learn with us. Te Pūkenga Operating Model aims to make your learning with Te Pūkenga happen in the ways, places and timings that suit you best.

    You’ll still be able to study and train across multiple courses and qualifications, but you’ll have more choices in what, how and where you can learn. Te Pūkenga is here to help you fit learning around your life.

    You’ll also notice Māori values and principles reflected in everything we do, with our Te Tiriti Excellence framework - Te Pae Tawhiti in place to monitor Te Tiriti and equity outcomes. This new operating model is designed to remove systemic barriers like racism and bias in your learning environments and journey, including enrolment and assessments, will be improved to address issues of cultural safety and wellbeing.

    The future experience we are all creating is one where the mana of all learners (and their whānau) is upheld, and there are equitable opportunities for success.

    Your voice is important to help guide what your future learning journey and experience will be. The draft Operating Model describes how the network will be organised to better support your learning success and and how employers, staff, and iwi, hapū and Māori will contribute to this success,  especially for our underserved Māori, Pacific, and disabled learners. 

    Even though you may complete your qualification by the time Te Pūkenga begins operating, your perspectives as a learner are incredibly valuable. After all, you’ve made your way through the current system and so you’ve got a lot of fresh insight into what works and what we need to do better.

    You might want to return to education in the future – maybe in a different region or in a different field. Terefore, you’ll benefit from a system that puts you at the centre. You might have whānau who plan to study in the future, and your input now will go a long way towards making their experience more supportive, flexible and culturally responsive.

    The Operating Model mahi isn’t looking at specific programmes and where they’re offered; it’s a ‘big picture’ design of how the whole system will work. It’s about listening to the needs of learners, staff and employers and then developing better ways to deliver learning across the network, while also providing a new set of services that could remove barriers.

    Te Tiriti partnership and equity are part of the backbone of our organisation so that Māori voices and worldviews are central to informing decision-making. You will see increased visibility of te ao Māori throughout all aspects of your learning, and within support services, your physical learning environment, student celebrations and campus life in general.

    For Māori and for other people who haven’t been well-served by our existing system, this new Operating Model is designed to remove systemic barriers like racism and bias of all kinds in your learning environments. Our processes, including enrolment and assessments, will be improved to address issues of cultural safety and accessibility.

  • The Operating Model describes how Te Pūkenga will operate in the future. It describes the future experience that learners, employers, staff and iwi, hapū and Māori will have and how we, as a network, will advance equity, especially for Māori, Pacific, and disabled learners.
    The proposed Operating Model enables the future experience of learners in employment or transitioning to employment to be greatly improved. This will be achieved by supporting employers with flexible learning options for their employees that fully integrates on-the-job learning with other modes of delivery and to support learners to acquire the complementary knowledge and skills needed in a way that fits in with the rhythms of different workplaces.

    Employers play a vital role in the vocational education system by teaching and developing skills in the workplace. Around 60% of all Te Pūkenga learners are undertaking work-based learning so your involvement in our proposed Operating Model is critical.
    The feedback you provide will help us confirm our Operating Model which will go to the Minister of Education for endorsement in December this year.

    Over the next year, it will be business as usual. Learners will get the same qualification and receive the same service they get from the same people they work with now. We will ensure there is no disruption to what works well in the current system while we, in conjunction with the Workforce Development Councils, continue to work with your business and industry to identify issues that impact you.
    From 2023 employers and industry will be true partners in delivering quality learning experiences that are relevant to business and learner needs.
    Over time, we will be able to customise solutions that fit with individual business needs. This will mean products, support options and learning tools will be available to support you to train your people. It will be easier to retrain and upskill staff in a system that is more flexible and responsive and over the longer-term work-based learning will be integrated with other flexible learning options that fit the rhythms of different workplaces.

    Yes. Feedback can be submitted by individuals or as part of group.

    When submitting feedback on the online platform there is a place to indicate that it is a group submission. The association can also complete the feedback form and submit it as part of a group by sending it to yourvoice@tepukenga.ac.nz.

    Te Pūkenga will collaborate with the WDCs where we both have common interests in relation to employer voice.  We have developed an employer engagement framework with the WDCs to ensure that employers can have one meeting to share their qualification and workforce planning needs, as well as their programming delivery needs. We want to minimise the number of entities that employers need to deal with.

    Te Pūkenga will collaborate with the WDCs where we both have common interests in relation to employer voice.  We have developed an employer engagement framework with the WDCs to ensure that employers can have one meeting to share their qualification and workforce planning needs, as well as their programming delivery needs. We want to minimise the number of entities that employers need to deal with.

    Te Pūkenga will collaborate with the WDCs where we both have common interests in relation to employer voice.  We have developed an employer engagement framework with the WDCs to ensure that employers can have one meeting to share their qualification and workforce planning needs, as well as their programming delivery needs. We want to minimise the number of entities that employers need to deal with.

    One of the advantages of the Ako network approach is that you can move between the networks and share best practice.  We want to avoid the Ako Networks being hard wired creating silos which don’t talk to each other.  We believe the matrix model allows us to manage the Ako networks both horizontally and vertically.

    The current cost of programmes will continue as they currently are – the Fees Free or Apprenticeship Boost scheme - both of which are due for review by the Government. 
    The ROVE Unified Funding Model will provide a new funding system, which will be agnostic to the mode of delivery and about the best outcomes of the learner – no longer about funding a particular mode of delivery. Once TEC has announced the Unified Funding Model, we will be reviewing the funding costs.

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