Introducing Skills Active Te Mahi Ako

As part of the reform of vocational education, Skills Active is establishing a new, independent provider, to take over work-based learning for our sectors: Skills Active Te Mahi Ako.

Under the reform, Skills Active is required to hand over its work-based learning services. In 2021 we held an extensive consultation with our stakeholders, clients, learners, partners and government funders. From this it was clear there was overwhelming support for Skills Active to establish an independent provider to take over this mahi.

This option was tested and endorsed by our board and shareholders, and developed with close engagement from the Tertiary Education Commission and New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

We are now in the final stages of preparing to transfer our work-based learning activities to Skills Active Te Mahi Ako, which will start trading on October 1, 2022.

Want a quick run-down on the reform? We’ve provided an outline below.

The meaning behind the name

'Mahi' literally means work or practice, and 'ako' - learning, so a short translation is "the work of learning". But ako is also a unique te ao Māori concept - a special learning relationship in which all parties gain knowledge. ‘Skills Active Te Mahi Ako’ reflects the very special type of active, work-based learning that our sectors are all about.

What’s next?

Skills Active Aotearoa will remain the parent company of both Skills Active Te Mahi Ako, and our sister business, Qualworx. Together these three will form the Skills Active Group. 

Skills Active Te Mahi Ako is scheduled to start operating on 1 October 2022. It will be a seamless transition for clients and learners. If you or your staff are enrolled in one of our programmes before that date, you will simply complete and receive your certificate as per normal. If you enrol after that date, you will be enrolling with the new provider.

You can find more information about the establishment of the new provider in the documents below.

Summary document: mission and priorities

Q&A on the transition

Skills Active Te Mahi Ako charter

Establishment board

A dedicated board has been set up to oversee the preparations for Skills Active Te Mahi Aho to start trading in October. This work includes:

overseeing detailed organisational design transitional planning for the new entity

overseeing the establishment plan and governance, and appointment of the Skills Active Te Mahi Ako board

applying good change management practices, and supporting key stakeholders, ākonga, staff, iwi and industry

working closely with management and government to ensure the establishment stays true to the intent of the reform.

Establishment board members

Sam Napia (co-chair)

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Sam Napia 

Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Kauwhata

Sam is the current chair of the Skills Active board, and the CEO of Te Rūnanga-Ā-Iwi-O-Ngāpuhi. He has worked in senior roles in local government, and served on many boards over the years, including in advertising, fishing, and broadcasting. Sam is involved with the Treaty settlement process for Ngāpuhi, the country’s largest iwi, and has extensive experience in working with Māori and non-Māori organisations alike. Sam was first elected to Skills Active’s Board in May 2007, but has been involved with Skills Active since the incorporation of SFRITO some 30 years ago. Sam holds an MBA from the University of Waikato.

Stephen Ruru (co-chair)

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Stephen Ruru

Ngāti Raukawa and Ngāti Ranginui

Steve is currently a member of Te Mana Whakahaere, the council that oversees Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. He is also chief executive at the Taranaki Regional Council and has previously served as CEO at the Southland, Kaipara and Thames-Coromandel District Councils. Steve has held board roles with Milford Sound Tourism, Lakes District Health Board and the Department of Corrections. He is also currently appointed as an independent advisor to the Skills Active Aotearoa Board. Steve obtained his Bachelor of Management Studies from the University of Waikato, and is a Chartered Accountant Fellow (FCA) with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

Robyn Cockburn

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Robyn Cockburn

Robyn is a specialist across the arts, education and recreation and has governance experience in all of these areas. She is on the board of Sport NZ, and is a fellow of Recreation Aotearoa and Physical Education New Zealand. Robyn is the director of the consultancy Lumin, which provides research, analysis, strategy, facilitation and planning. She is also the chair of the Shift organisation which has been a client of Skills Active, and works on empowering young women aged 12 – 20 years through recreation and physical activity. Robyn has a Master of Arts (Applied), a Post Graduate Certificate in Athlete Career and Education Management, and a Bachelor of Physical Education.

Keep informed with our regular newsletters on the vocational reforms and the establishment of Te Mahi Ako.

Learn more about the reform

Transition of standard setting

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Transition of standard setting and skills leadership

The government created six Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) to take over creating standards and qualifications, and providing industry skills leadership.

All WDCs are organised into industry groupings, and Skills Active's industries are included in the Creative, Cultural, Recreation and Technology WDC, Toi Mai.

The other groupings are: Construction and Infrastructure; Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics; Primary Industries; Services; and Health, Community and Social Services.

Toi Mai became operational in October 2021, and took over the role of standard-setting body from Skills Active.

Visit the Toi Mai website

Key changes in the reform

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The reform has a number of key goals.

Te Pūkenga, the New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology has been created by bringing together the existing 16 polytechs.
The role of supporting workplace-based learning has shifted ffrom transitional ITOs to providers.
Workforce Development Councils have been created to take over standard-setting and skills leadership.
Regional Skills Leadership Groups advise on the skill needs of their regions to TEC, WDCs, and local vocational education providers.
Te Taumata Aronui, a Māori advisory body, serves to ensure that the reform reflects the government’s commitment to Māori-Crown partnerships.
A number of Centres of Vocational Excellence work across Te Pūkenga, providers, WDCs, industry experts and researchers, to strengthen vocational education provision in various practice areas.
unified funding system will apply across all provider-based and work-integrated education at sub-degree levels, and all industry training.

Talk to us

Still wondering about something? Get in touch!

 P   0508 4 SKILLS (0508 475 4557)

E   info@skillsactive.org.nz