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Source: Tertiary Education Commission

On Thursday 14 May 2020, the Government announced a significant trades training package. As part of this, the formation of all six Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) was fast-tracked for establishment. This was to help support New Zealand’s COVID-19 recovery. 
The six interim Establishment Boards (iEBs) responsible for the formation of all six WDCs were announced on Thursday 25 June 2020. You can read about the members under ‘WDC iEBs’.

With some amendments, the industry coverage for WDCs is primarily based on the Vocational Pathways and represents broad groupings of industry. Vocational Pathways link the assessment standards at levels 1 to 3 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework to six industry sectors, and show how NCEA learning and achievement is valued by employers. 
The Six Workforce Development Councils and their coverage
 
The decision around final coverage areas will be confirmed through Orders in Council (OICs). Each WDC’s industry coverage will be described down to Level 4 of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) 2006 in the OICs.
An OIC  is needed to establish the WDC as a legal entity. The OIC covers some very high-level elements of the WDC, such as name, coverage and governance arrangements.
The establishment of WDCs is enabled by the passing of the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Act on 1 April, 2020.
Q&As
Why are you fast-tracking the formation of the six Workforce Development Councils?
COVID-19 has resulted in unprecedented impacts on New Zealand industry, employers, learners and communities. We need a strong, unified, sustainable vocational education and training system to help lessen the social and economic impacts of COVID-19. Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) are at the heart of this system and their early influence will be critical in making sure that investment is well targeted and supports business growth alongside great careers.
Industry and employers have told us they want a stronger voice for training, for both current and future employees. Fast-tracking all six WDCs ensures their voice can be part of designing the response to COVID-19.
What are the benefits of fast-tracking the WDCs?   
Fast-tracking WDCs means their influence in the vocational education and training system will be felt sooner than previously planned. WDCs will strengthen collaboration between industry, employers and communities, and help to ensure that timely, high-quality information and advice about learners, labour markets and skills demands are available to Government. They will also be part of a system that aims to provide learners with stronger vocational pathways and different ways of learning and training. 
Will fast-tracking the formation of WDCs impact the transition work of the transitional Industry Training Organisations?  
As planned, the arranging training capability of transitional Industry Training Organisations will still move to providers and their standard setting function will move to WDCs. However, there is no intent to bring forward the deadline for the transition of arranging training. It may be that this transition is completed sooner than the deadline of 31 December 2022 in cases where transitional Industry Training Organisations want this process to move faster.   
Has there been thought given to the fact that you are accelerating the establishment of WDCs at a time when many industries are busy focusing on business survival, recovery and response to COVID-19?
Yes, absolutely. We want to ensure momentum is maintained with RoVE to realise the benefits of the reform as quickly as possible. This includes bringing the six WDCs – brand new architecture – to the heart of the new system as quickly as possible to ensure industry has a voice in COVID-19 related response initiatives.
We understand that industry will need time and space in the immediate future to focus on its own COVID-19 related priorities. This is why the TEC is leading the appointment of the iEB members.
Will fast-tracking the formation of WDCs impact the transition work of the transitional Industry Training Organisations? 
The plan to move the arranging training capability of transitional Industry Training Organisations to providers and their standard setting function to WDCs remains unchanged. There is no intent to bring forward the deadline for the transition of arranging training from 31 December 2022, although, it may be that this occurs sooner in cases where transitional Industry Training Organisations want this process to move faster.  
What does the WDC acceleration mean for transitional Industry Training Organisation staff?
An accelerated programme of work means that all six WDCs will be established around the same time as opposed to the staggered approach previously planned. This will provide standard setting staff at transitional Industry Training Organisations with a greater opportunity to consider their options across all WDCs. The RoVE programme will continue to work closely with transitional Industry Training Organisations to ensure that the transition of standard setting responsibilities and functions happens in a transparent and seamless way.
Will all the WDCs stand up at the same time?
All six iEBs will work on their key activities at the same time so all WDCs can be established around the same time – by a target date of the end of 2020. From here, iEBs will hand over to the first WDC boards – the Establishment Boards. All six Establishment Boards will, at the same time, work on their key activities before the permanent WDC Boards take on their governance role.
Aligning the stand-up of all six WDCs facilitates a joined-up approach between the organisations, supporting efficiencies and cross-collaboration during the establishment process while also enabling shared functions and services to be explored across WDCs.
What Māori and iwi engagement are you undertaking as part of the WDC acceleration?
There are a number of ways we will continue to work with Māori and iwi throughout the process.
The RoVE programme, including the WDC establishment and transitional Industry Training Organisation teams, are committed to working closely with Te Taumata Aronui; a group established to help ensure that RoVE reflects the Government’s commitment to Māori-Crown partnerships. 
We also remain committed to ensuring Māori and iwi are involved and able to provide input to the decisions made, including through the Order in Council (OIC) consultation later this year. To achieve this, we are developing a dedicated Māori and iwi stakeholder communications and engagement tactical activity plan.
How does the work of the WDC design process (design group and reference group) tie in to this plan?
As it currently stands, the design process is well aligned to the target date for establishing WDCs – by a target date of the end of 2020. The design process is on track to provide high level design outputs in September 2020. These will be used by the WDC Establishment Boards – when the iEBs hand over to them – to inform the operating model for each WDC. The timeframes haven’t changed and won’t need to be compressed as a result of the acceleration.
The design process remains an important part of the process and we are very grateful for the continued support and commitment of the design and reference group members.
What does ‘established’ WDCs mean?
When we refer to a WDC being ‘established’ we mean that the WDC exists as a legal entity. Before this can occur, industry must be consulted on the governance arrangements and other core elements of the WDC including its name, functions and coverage. These elements must also be approved by the Education Minister, Cabinet, and the Governor General. This is the job of the iEBs.  
Once a WDC exists as a legal entity, a formal, permanent WDC Board can be appointed, staff can be hired, and the WDC can become operational. The iEBs will hand over to the Establishment Board once the WDC is established. The iEBs are not responsible for WDC operation.
On Monday 10 May 2021 Her Excellency the Governor-General, Patsy Reddy, gave Royal Assent, passing in to law, Orders in Council establishing the six Workforce Development Councils.
Where can I get further information?
Please visit the RoVE webpages or email WDCs@tec.govt.nz

MIL OSI