Source: Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology
Toi Ohomai Head of Youth and Community Engagement, Olivia Dhanjee, has been appointed to the Bay of Plenty Regional Skills Leadership Group – a new Government initiative to support the region’s changing labour market.
The group is one of 15 being established across New Zealand to identify better ways to meet future workforce needs, including helping to re-employ, redeploy or retrain workers who have lost their jobs, or owners who have closed their businesses.
Olivia says she is delighted with her supplementary appointment to the regional group, which she believes will play a vital role in ensuring positive outcomes for vocational education and training opportunities in New Zealand.
She is a passionate advocate for the seamless transition of rangatahi into sustainable employment and is excited about applying her blend of leadership experience at Toi Ohomai with her ‘grass roots’ approach to her new role.
“As we navigate our way through our recent economic interruption, the importance of vocational education and its ability to integrate applied training to industry need, particularly within workplaces, will become even more relevant. Accessing early work experience opportunities, better alignment of NCEA towards industry standards to support transition, and alignment to a Vocational Entrance Award are all critical elements in a post-COVID environment.
“My mahi at Toi Ohomai, through secondary-tertiary transitions and community outreach, has definitely enabled me to form some deep and meaningful connections with local rangatahi, schools and kura, whānau and communities. Drawing from a strong connection to my whānau, hapū and iwi, I’m proud to ensure that the aspirations and diverse voice of rangatahi across our rohe is represented at this table – it is critical that the voice of our young people is promoted and valued,” she says.
The Bay of Plenty group will be co-chaired by Andrea Blair, who brings a wealth of experience in the geothermal industry and governance, and Dr Chris Tooley, Chief Executive of Te Puna Ora o Mataatua.
In a statement, Andrea says the group intends to provide leadership and coordination across economic development areas and real-time information to the Government on the challenges facing the Bay of Plenty.
“With our four economic development agencies, industry stakeholders and Māori all coming together, it is a great opportunity to work towards one overall regional plan.”
Chris says the COVID-19 environment means the group will aim to coordinate the pipeline from unemployment to whānau ora support systems, and training opportunities through to job placements.
“Māori have been disproportionately affected by our lockdown, so an integrated equity strategy will also be an important part of the regional plan,” he says.
The Bay of Plenty group consists of regional industry leaders, economic development agencies, and iwi, worker and government representatives, who will all contribute their knowledge and local expertise. They will be supported by a team of data analysts, policy advisors and workforce specialists at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
The 15 Regional Skills Leadership Groups are being set up on an interim, one-year basis with a swift appointment process and a mandate to support an immediate response to the regional labour market impacts and disruption arising from COVID-19.
The groups will work closely with local and national initiatives, including six Workforce Development Councils (WDCs). WDCs will focus on industry specific training needs across all of New Zealand while Regional Skills Leadership Groups will offer a regional perspective.
In the longer term, the groups will develop Regional Workforce Plans, projecting labour supply needs, to ensure regions have the right skills and workforce planning to seize local economic opportunities.