Seven working groups have been created to design recommendations for elements of the New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology (NZIST), says IST Establishment Unit Executive Director, Murray Strong.

The working groups form the Mobilising the New World workstream, one of ten workstreams tasked by Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins to the IST Establishment Board in order to have the new NZIST operational by 1 April 2020.

“We received more than 500 nominations,” says Strong. “We narrowed that down to 76 individuals, spread across seven working groups. So we have achieved very good skills, experience and diversity in the final list.

“Throughout the process the sector has been very keen to be at the forefront of leading, owning and supporting change as part of the Minister’s Reform of Vocational Education programme and he has been very positive about their level of involvement. The working groups will be led by the sector and external stakeholders.”


Facilitators for each working group are:

Student Journey Map – Debbie Preston, Wintec

Employer and Community Engagement – Linda Stewart, Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA)

Education Products and Services – Phil Ker, Otago Polytechnic

Work-based Learning Development – Fiona Kingsford, Competenz

New Academic Structure for the IST – Chris Collins, EIT

Online Arrangements – Phil Ker, Otago Polytechnic

International Education – Michelle Jordan, Venture Taranaki


Working group members (10 per working group) are in the process of being contacted to confirm their involvement.

Strong says the three IST Establishment Board members who will lead the Mobilising the New World workstream are Dr Sandra Grey, Brett O’Riley and Dr Linda Sissons.

“They will be taking a guiding, oversight and ‘critical-friend’ role to the working groups. Establishment Board members will help ensure alignment and integration across the workstreams.”

“The prime role of these working groups is to provide advice to the incoming permanent NZIST Council in April 2020. The new Council will consider the suggestions and recommendations of the working groups as it makes future decisions,” says Barry Jordan, Chair of the IST Establishment Board. “Co-designing the work programme outputs with wide ranging stakeholders and educators is an important foundation for the long-term sustainability of NZIST.”

Strong says the IST Establishment Unit will look to create more opportunities for input. “Given the enormous interest, we will look to develop additional opportunities for feeding into the working groups and I encourage individual institutions to run their own workshops to harness the enthusiasm and talent across the sector to ensure we have as many people as possible contributing to the Minister’s co-design approach.”

The NZIST is one of seven key changes in the Reform of Vocational Education, announced by Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins on 1 August.

Back to the news