Building a Resilient Construction and Trades Sector Through Education

Manukau Institute of Technology has been chosen as the regional campus to host the Construction and Infrastructure Centre of Vocational Excellence (ConCOVE) on behalf of New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology. ConCOVE will support learners to build long-term futures, developing and retaining the workforce the country needs.

 “ConCOVE will be a national network connecting industry to education providers,” says MIT Chief Executive – Gus Gilmore. “We always believed the strength of the consortium’s bid lay in the breadth and depth of its members’ expertise, experience, passion and coverage throughout New Zealand.”

The successful consortium includes Manukau Institute of Technology, Unitec, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Ara Institute of Canterbury, BCITO, The Skills Organisation, The Construction Sector Accord, New Zealand Construction Industry Council, Vertical Horizonz and Connexis.

Currently, the consortium also has thirty-two associate members with that number expected to grow.

ConCOVE will focus on five key projects designed to address significant issues in creating a talent pipeline:

  • Disruption – preparing industries to manage disruptions to the nature of work brought about by new technologies and develop training solutions.
  • Learning Framework – reform entry-level training to decrease the time it takes workers to become engaged in meaningful employment
  • Retention – improve workforce productivity and retention by developing career support services including training, mentoring and networking.
  • Diversity – provide tested strategies and models for stakeholders to grow workforce diversity, particularly in relation to Māori, Pasifika and women.
  • Sustainability – help the industry respond to increasing demand for environmentally sustainable practices.

ConCOVE is a key part of education helping to deliver on the shared goals of the Construction Sector Accord agreed between Government and industry to create a more productive, sustainable and resilient sector for both businesses and their employees.

“We are very excited to be a part of the consortium chosen to lead the Construction CoVE. There has been a collaborative effort between the consortium partners to develop a proposal which reflects Accord goals, including raising capacity and capability while improving diversity and providing clear career paths across the industry,” says Graham Burke, the Construction Accord’s People Development Workstream lead.

Shaping the reform of vocational education and creating a long-term workforce plan are important aspects in the Accord’s three-year Construction Sector Transformation Plan.

COVID-19’s economic impacts and the Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund have seen high growth in demand for vocational training.

At MIT, Semester 2 enrolments for trades and engineering courses have increased 59% on the previous year as workers displaced from the economy upskill and retrain.

“The new network will drive the changes needed to our training regime to put learners at the centre of the model,” say MIT’s Executive General Manager – Academic, Prof Martin Carroll.

“For the industry to be resilient in challenging times, we must engage local talent and work together to support their personal development and create pathways leading to rewarding long-term careers.”

Key functions of ConCOVE include:

  • Sharing high-quality curriculum and programme design
  • Sharing applied research with employers and providers
  • Sharing learning technologies with providers of vocational education to minimise cost and duplication 
  • Providing training support for employers
  • Strengthening pathways into vocational education, including from school

ConCOVE will be located at the new TechPark facility in Manukau. The 9,000 square metre facility is a state-of-the-art, inspiring learning environment for the next generation of tradespeople and engineers.

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