Competenz continued to provide high-quality training outcomes during 2019, despite the potential for disruption from Minister Hipkins' announcement of the Reform of Vocational Education, which will see the organisation disestablished by the end of 2022, along with all 11 industry training organisations (ITOs). Reflecting the views of over 80 per cent of our employers, we lobbied hard for amendments to the original proposal and, in particular, the retention of the arranging training functions. This advice was not accepted, therefore, we have had to adapt to working within the Government’s evolving new framework.
The Board and I acknowledge the work of the organisation and its commitment to employers and learners during this challenging time. Notwithstanding our concerns, an impressive level of engagement with industry and government officials has ensured our industries have been fully informed and actively engaged in the formation of the new vocational education system.
I would like to assure you that Competenz will continue to assist learners and employers in their endeavours to improve work-based skills, productivity and future sustainability of the country’s engineering and manufacturing sectors with all qualifications fully supported, for some time yet.
This commitment was further illustrated by the fact learner numbers and enrolments remained stable during 2019 with a slight increase in the number of apprentices in training. This is very pleasing, particularly in the face of major reform.
We also continued in our determination to strive for better recruitment outcomes for our existing employers, attracting more employers into nationally-recognised training programmes, greater involvement of Māori and Pasifika in trade training and to provide better learning materials, to name a few.
Financial performance for the year ended 31 December 2019 was very satisfactory with a surplus of $2,044,000 – a major improvement on the $250,000 surplus achieved in 2018. Much of the gain came from investment returns which have, unfortunately, been severely eroded in 2020 following the COVID-19 effects on financial markets.
My thanks go to our Board members who have been actively engaged in the governance of the business during the year and, particularly, in the events of the Review of Vocational Education and its consultative processes. I am extremely grateful for their support and contributions.
To Fiona Kingsford and her Senior Leadership Team, I would like to record the Board’s thanks for your commitment and contributions to an incredibly demanding, yet successful year. Your dedication to obtaining the best outcomes for the New Zealand workforce, while balancing the needs of their people, has been outstanding.
To our 180 staff members, we thank you for the work you continue to do against a backdrop of uncertainty and the lives and businesses that you inspire with your commitment to better training outcomes.
Finally, thank you to the employers, learners, assessors and training providers who partner with us to inspire and grow a more competitive New Zealand.