Connexis the second TITO to transition to Te Pūkenga

Diana Blake News, RoVE

Te Pūkenga added infrastructure industry training and apprenticeships to its suite of vocational education provision today, welcoming the second Transitional Industry Training Organisation (TITO) Connexis into its whānau.

Connexis’s role of arranging training for the Civil, Energy, Telecommunications, and Water sectors today transferred to Te Pūkenga subsidiary Work Based Learning Limited (WBL). Connexis is now a separately branded business division within WBL, led by Director Kaarin Gaukrodger.

Within WBL, Connexis will continue to arrange, support, and assess work-based learning, providing New Zealand’s infrastructure workforce with clear career pathways and nationally recognised apprenticeships and New Zealand certificate qualifications.

Connexis brings with it a fast-growing base of on-job learners from across the infrastructure sectors. There has been a 35 percent rise in numbers enrolled in Connexis apprenticeships and other training programmes so far this year. Connexis also brings a number of well-established initiatives to promote infrastructure careers, including Ultimit: Women in Infrastructure, and Girls with Hi-Vis®.

Acting Chief Executive of WBL Fiona Kingsford welcomed Connexis during an online whakatau today, in lieu of a planned pōwhiri that had to be cancelled due to Covid restrictions. Addressing around 100 staff across Connexis and Te Pūkenga, she acknowledged the importance of today.

“We’re really grateful to Connexis for their enthusiasm to work with us on this once-in-a-generation opportunity. I want to acknowledge all Connexis people making this transition, which would not be possible without you and the mahi you do every day for apprentices, trainees and employers across the industries you serve,” she says.

Connexis Director Kaarin Gaukrodger says today is the culmination of years of consultation, with staff, industry, learners and other stakeholders, to find the best path forward for infrastructure industry training.

“Our industries are growing fast, presenting huge opportunities for learners. We are excited about the potential Te Pūkenga offers to help learners harness these opportunities, and to help meet the skills needs of infrastructure employers, now and into the future. Together, we can reshape and grow vocational education for infrastructure in New Zealand and provide more flexibility and accessibility.”

Te Pūkenga was established by the Government to unite Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) and TITOs into a national network. Once fully established, Te Pūkenga will be New Zealand’s largest tertiary provider and the 35th largest globally. In April 2021, Te Pūkenga Work Based Learning Limited was established in preparation for the arranging training functions of TITOs to transfer to Te Pūkenga. From 1 January 2023 learners will be enrolled at Te Pūkenga, wānanga or private training establishments, and an estimated 60 percent of Te Pūkenga learners will be work-based.