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Source: Tertiary Education Commission

Fifteen Regional Skills Leadership Groups announced
In June 2020, the Government announced the establishment of 15 independent Regional Skills Leadership Groups. Ten of these are to be launched immediately and the remaining five to be launched thereafter. The Groups will provide advice about the skills needs of the regions to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), Workforce Development Councils (WDCs), and local vocational education providers. They will better manage the changing skills and workforce needs in our regions and cities, and support the recovery of labour markets.
The Groups will work closely with local and national initiatives, including the six WDCs. The WDCs will focus on industry specific training needs across all of New Zealand while the Regional Skills Leadership Groups will offer a regional perspective on skills and labour market needs.
The Regional Skills Leadership Groups feature regional industry leaders, economic development agencies, iwi, and worker and government representatives, who will contribute their knowledge and local expertise. They will be supported by a team of data analysts, policy advisors and workforce specialists.
For their first year, the Groups will be set up on an interim, one-year basis with a swift appointment process, and a mandate to gather local intelligence that supports the COVID-19 response.
Engagement on Regional Skills Leadership Groups and what we heard
From September 2020, a team from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) met with people across the country, to help shape what Regional Skills Leadership Groups would look like and how they would operate.
Many participants agreed with some of the key features of the Group proposal, in particular:
Regional Skills Leadership Groups would build on successful existing regional labour market planning and not duplicate. This meant that where groups existed and met Cabinet’s criteria, we would endeavour to recognise those groups as Regional Skills Leadership Groups.
Regional Skills Leadership Groups would be led by the regions, for the regions, and would be expected to be primarily made up of community and regional employers, along with iwi/Māori. Central Government’s role is to provide support and ongoing resourcing.
Common themes
There were some common themes raised across the regions:
Getting the right mix
Making sure each Group accurately represents stakeholders across geographic, sector, and demographic groups will be challenging, particularly as some groups are not already well represented in regional conversations.
In light of this valuable feedback, we considered:
Establishing sub-groups or forums to sit under the Regional Skills Leadership Groups, which would help the Groups have input from a more diverse range of voices without having to have all parties represented within the Group. These could be reference groups on a particular issue or sub-groups for particular geographic areas with unique challenges, strengths and opportunities.
Having minimum consultation requirements in place so RSLGs actively engage with a diverse range of groups when developing their Regional Workforce Plans.
Ensuring iwi have a voice on Regional Skills Leadership Groups.
Requiring Regional Skills Leadership Groups to consider particular sub-regions. The Terms of Reference and appointment letters for the Groups could set out what the groups need to consider for their Workforce Development Plan.
Avoiding duplication
The role and functions of Regional Skills Leadership Groups need to be defined, and it is important to be clear how the Regional Skills Leadership Group will work with other existing regional groups and activities.
Creating a meaningful Regional Workforce Plan is a huge task, and will need participation and contribution from a diverse range of a region’s labour market participants. Important and busy stakeholders may not have capacity to engage due to their existing commitments.
To help address this issue, you told us that Regional Skills Leadership Groups will need to be resourced sufficiently.
Get involved
If you have any thoughts, suggestions or questions about Regional Skills Leadership Groups, contact the team by emailing
Check out more information on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.