Kia ora koutou,
This month, while we have been forging ahead with our transition plans and resourcing up to meet our increased trainee and apprentice numbers, we have also been reflecting on 2020 in the run up to the Annual General Meeting.
The past 18 months have been marked by unprecedented change for both Connexis and the industries we serve. First Covid, then the economic stimuli that have brought so much growth to both Infrastructure and industry training. And now, we are reaching the business-end of RoVE and are preparing for transition.
Through it all, the Connexis team, made up of staff, assessors, and moderators, have remained committed and focused on what is important – providing quality training programmes and support to learners and employers. I am proud of what we have achieved and am confident that we are continuing to move in the right direction for the betterment of our industries.
In the 2020 Annual Review, you can read feedback from some of our customers and trainees. Huia Rose Anderson, who completed the NZ Certificate in Drinking-Water Treatment (L4) says: “Completing my qualification means more than words could describe. I’ve shown my children, if you want something, make it happen.” This, to me, is what it is all about.
RoVE Bulletin #5 is out now.
RoVE Bulletin #6 preview
The next RoVE Bulletin will be out soon.
Key headlines include:
Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) gives green light to Connexis transition plan
Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) governing boards named
Te Raurau Kaiwhakamahi – Te Pūkenga employer and learner journey consultation
Connexis Annual Review 2020 is out now
A $2.9 million operating surplus in 2020 puts us in a strong position to continue delivering to the highest levels to our industries and enables us to invest in improved systems and capabilities. It comes as a result of government funding and policy changes that have directed workers towards the trades and vocational training. Cost savings, especially around travel, that arose out of Covid lockdown restrictions, also contributed to our strong financial performance last year.
With confirmation of the increased funding to cover the rise in trainee numbers, we have been recruiting Field Team and back office staff in 2021 and our overheads are on the rise this year.
Find out more about the work we did last year and the results it had on our bottom line by downloading our 2020 Annual Review.
Girls with Hi-Vis® gets high visibility with national media coverage
We are in the last week of Girls with Hi-Vis® (GWHV) and already we can say this has been the most successful, with fantastic media coverage and support; record numbers of events and attendees; and broad participation across our industries and across the country.
GWHV gives female high school students the opportunity to visit an infrastructure company, get hands-on experience and hear from inspirational women in the industry.
Attendees have visited pump and power stations, wind farms, and construction sites, and also experienced operating small excavators, hung from a harness two floors up, built dams and water metres, and raced the pros to tighten bolts with torque wrenches, just to name a few.
With over 20 workplace open days throughout the country, from Auckland to Manapōuri, the variety of experiences reflects the diversity of roles within Infrastructure and the vast array of tasks that come up every day.
Over 600 high schoolers attended events this year and the hope is that they have come away with a better understanding of the opportunities the Civil, Energy, Telco and Water industries offer. According to St Catherine’s Careers Advisor Heather Miller, at least two girls from a Meridian GWHV event two years ago are now considering a trade career.
Lani Treur, who manages Meridian Energy’s Mill Creek Wind Farm, says she always finds the GWHV events inspiring. This is the fifth year Meridian has held an event and Lani says she still feels “buzzy” when she sees a girl discover a real aptitude for something she’s never tried before.
This year’s events could not have been such a success without the Ministry of Education funding we received for logistics and collateral support. We are also indebted to all participating companies: BECA, Citycare Water, Connetics, Contact Energy, Downer, Dunedin City Council, Genesis, HEB Construction, Meridian, Piritahi, Powerco, Tairāwhiti Contractors, Unison, and Watercare Services Ltd.
Check out the GWHV coverage on Stuff and New Zealand Herald, Gisborne Herald,Taranaki Daily News, Listen to Kaarin talking about GWHV and the benefits of women in Infrastructure, on Three’s AM Show.
ANNUAL CONNECTION IS ON SOON
The next major industry initiative on our calendar is Annual Connection, the premier event for Electricity Supply. After disappointingly being postponed last year, we are looking forward to its return, in Christchurch from Tuesday 21 to Thursday 23 September.
It promises to be three days packed with action, as teams go head-to-head to prove their skills as line mechanics and cable jointers and battle it out to be the best. Enjoy the competition or take some time to visit the exhibitor sites, showcasing the latest new products and innovations.
If you are a supplier to the industry, get your product in front of the decision-makers. Book your site today.
Annual Connection wraps up with the Industry Excellence Awards, where the 2021 winning Line Mechanic Team and Cable Jointer will be crowned, along with our other ESI trainee winners. Tickets for the awards are available now. Contact the Event Manager for details and to book your place.
Find out more about Annual Connection here and contact the Event Manager with any questions or for further information
SPEEDMEET – FIND YOUR FUTURE WORKFORCE
We are inviting employers to participate in the SpeedMeet events in August and September. If you are looking to fill entry-role positions within the next six months, or want to open the eyes of young people to the career options that are available to them then this could be for you. Alternatively, you may be able to offer a young student work experience and help them earn NCEA credits through the Infrastructure Gateway programme.
SpeedMeet brings together employers and students from a variety of industries ‘speed-dating style over 12 locations across New Zealand’. Every six minutes employers meet a secondary school student for a mini-interview. If both employer and student note they are interested, a match is made, and contact details are shared via email.
For more information, check out the 2021 Got a Trade? Got it Made! SpeedMeet factsheet.
Any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
eLearning programme to increase access, provide more flexibility
As we move closer to transitioning into the new RoVE system, we are investing $1.36 million into eLearning to increase accessibility and give learners more choice as to how they learn. Our aim is to have all our resources available online by 2023, ready to leverage the new unified vocational education system by providing greater accessibility and more learning options. Infrastructure Works Level 2 has joined the growing list of our programmes that are available online.
To carry out this work, we have recruited an eLearning Manager, Ross Wallace, and are advertising for two Learning Designers to join his team.
Ross has a long involvement with vocational learning. Starting out as an apprentice Automotive Engineer at age 16, he soon got qualified and became interested in passing on skills to new recruits. This led to a nearly 12-year stint lecturing at WelTec before transitioning into training and development for industry. Ross has worked for CablePrice, AB Equipment and MITO, where he gained experience in eLearning and learning design.
Ross says his focus is always on the learner experience; making programmes easier to access and more engaging so learners can remember and apply knowledge when it counts.
He says eLearning can help with learner progression, especially when it comes to theory. “They can pick up their phones and do a bit of learning on their lunch break.”
He stresses though that eLearning will not replace paper-based programmes. “It’s an enhancement. It gives a choice.” He acknowledges that some Infrastructure workers work in remote locations with poor internet access and for them, paper is still the better option.
Ross also says the eLearning project is a big one, and his team is likely to grow yet further over the coming months. It is the technical side of the project that presents the challenge however. Ross says the industry is receptive to eLearning, sees training as an investment in its people and welcomes steps to make it more accessible.
He says he is also grateful to have a catalogue of high-quality learning materials to work from, meaning his task is one of adaptation to an online format rather than creation from scratch.
Industry demand leads to new product launches
Keeping our qualifications, programmes and resources up to date, fit for purpose and relevant to industry is a key part of what we do. We regularly consult with industry to develop and improve our products.
In July, we have three new products for release, as well as a number of products that have been reviewed and revamped.
The NZC in Traffic Incident Management (Level 3) launches after four years in development. It arose out of industry demand for a qualification to recognise the skills of workers in the field. We expect initial interest to be from those currently in traffic incident management and will largely be for Recognition of Current Competency (RCC).
The two other new products are related – the NZC in On-site Wastewater Management System Design (Level 4) and On-site Wastewater Management Systems (Level 4) (Micro-credential). They will both be available from 26 July.
The new Certificate updates an older qualification and is for those designing and inspecting on-site wastewater management systems. It will be eligible for Free Trades Training through the Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF).
The Micro-credential just covers the theory portion of the qualification. It is either for Council staff who review and sign-off on designs, or a foundation course for those who wish to gain the full qualification at a later point.
Reviewed qualifications (available from 26 July):
- NZC in Surveying (Level 5)
- NZC in Electricity Supply (Utility Arboriculture) (Level 3)
- NZC in Infrastructure Contract Management (Level 5)
- NZC in Infrastructure Projects (Level 5)
Micro-credentials are set to be no small thing
Micro-credentials are an emerging area of development as we look for ways to broaden our service offering. Micro-credentials are short training courses with fewer credits than a qualification (between 5 and 40) and either lead into a qualification or focus on specialised skills and knowledge that top up a full qualification certificate or apprenticeship programme.
Examples of where micro-credentials are useful include bringing emergent skills related to new technology to market quickly and providing a mechanism for people with specialist skills to have their learning credentialed. It is a great way to provide multiple pathways to new roles and jobs.
We have a number of micro-credentials in the pipeline right now:
- On-site Wastewater Management Systems (Level 4) (Micro-credential)
- Traffic Management Operative (TMO) (Level 3) (Micro-credential)
- Site Traffic Manager Specialist (STMS) Non-practising (Level 3) (Micro-credential)
- Horizontal Directional Drilling (Level 4) (Micro-credential)
- Fusion Welding (Level 4) (Micro-credential)
- CCTV (Level 4) (Micro-credential)
- Connect Me – Telecommunications (Level 3) (Micro-credential)*
- Power Up – Electricity Supply (Level 2) (Micro-credential)*
- Switched On – Electricity Supply (Level 3) (Micro-credential)*
- Introduction to Infrastructure Works (Level 2) (Micro-credential)*
- Infrastructure Worksites (Level 3) (Micro-credential)*
*available to Year 12 and 13 secondary school students as Gateway programmes. These micro-credentials contain unit standards from the level 2 and level 3 programmes to start learners on their pathway.
In the news
Interest in Infrastructure is starting to spread. The reasons include the increase in Government funding as part of the Covid relief package, a spotlight on ageing or past underinvestment in infrastructure, and population growth. Meanwhile, there is a boom in vocational education and training due to skills gaps in many trades, Government support for this kind of learning, and job losses caused by Covid lockdowns.
See some of the latest headlines:
- Budget 2021 commits $57.3 billion to Infrastructure spending over the next four years; up $15bn on what had already been announced.
- Vocational education and training were also big beneficiaries of the Wellness Budget. Read more.
- New Zealand Government challenged to match Australia’s spending on critical Infrastructure. Read more.
- Proposals from the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission Te Waihanga include redrawing the bounds and boundaries of local councils’ responsibilities, congestion charging in Auckland, and exploring the potential for offshore renewables. Read more.
- Let’s Get Wellington Moving, the $6.4 billion transport package for the capital, edges closer to reality, with plans for widened footpaths, expanded parks, and other initiatives that are expected to take up to two years of construction. Read more.
Connexis RoVE Transition Programme Manager Paul Mitchell joined over 50 learners, Te Pūkenga staff and Transitional Industry Training Organisations (TITOs) to share best practice examples of learner-centred initiatives occurring across a variety of regions. Read more.