Learner-Focused, Industry-Led, Government-Enabled

Vocational Education & A National Food Plan

Earlier in 2023 it was reported in Stuff  experts were calling  for the development of a national food plan for Aotearoa New Zealand to support our nation’s food security.

This got us thinking about what the impact would be on innovation in vocational education, if Aotearoa New Zealand focused on the same four points as Australia:

  1. Growing exports
  2. Having a thriving industry
  3. Its people, and
  4. Sustainability.


Regardless of whether or not we develop a national food plan, workforce planning and the way industry treats its employees and trainees needs to change. I was recently discussing this with a farmer and industry leader who shared a really telling insight. He said, that for the most part, all the strategies and plans developed to date, and related to the future of industry and its workforce, are written from an industry centric perspective.

Very little thought is given to the life, circumstances, wellbeing and future of those people the industry proposes will want to work for it. To bring about change to vocational education models we need to take a holistic view, if we are serious about a quality future for our food industry.

The @Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has already developed the korowai system map to illustrate how vocational education in Aotearoa New Zealand should work in terms of being learner centric. If we took those principles and applied them across the wider employer and employee relationship, we start to get somewhere.

New Zealand has a really bad habit – almost an inherent need – to continually form working groups which then come up with another report, plan or model. We have some great pieces of work sitting gathering dust on shelves that we can employ, and if they are found to be insufficient, we can tap into ideas and models that other more developed economies (like continental Europe) have created, without having to form another working group and develop yet another plan.

We are keen to open a dialogue and welcome your thoughts.

@Paul Hollings, General Manager @FFCoVE

Posted as LinkedIn article 9 May 2023