Fiona Kingsford, CEO of New Zealand’s industry training organisation, Competenz, has welcomed the government’s announcement of the stakeholder group to establish the Food and Fibre Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE). Located in Hawke’s Bay at the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), the CoVE group involves 54 organisations across the entire food and fibre sector including industry associations, tertiary providers, Māori, employers, employees and standard setting bodies.
“Primary industries are critical to our country’s economic recovery, and vocational education plays a big role in upskilling and reskilling existing and new employees in this sector. Now is the time to attract people to the sector, train them, and provide clear educational pathways,” says Ms Kingsford.
“We are also keenly aware that a combination of technical and soft skills is important to give the sector the capabilities they need to navigate a post-COVID economy, and the disruption that we are encountering with technology and innovation.
“Our organisation is excited to see this industry-led approach to vocational education for the primary sector, via the Food and Fibre CoVE, and the growth and investment in training and building skills pathways across the primary industries. We also need to ensure that we invest in our training infrastructure, so we are delighted to see ongoing support for recruitment and training of on-job trainers and assessors as part of the CoVE’s proposal.”
The CoVE initiative was led by the Food and Fibre CoVE Consortium, which included the Forestry and Wood Processing Workforce Council of which Competenz is a member, Beef+Lamb NZ, Dairy NZ, Federated Farmers, NZ Apples and Pears, Seafood NZ, and NZ Winegrowers. The CoVEs are important enablers in the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) announced by the government in 2019.