Chairman’s report

Competenz, as one of New Zealand’s leading industry training organisations (ITOs), continued to provide high quality training outcomes in 2018, assisting learners and employers in their endeavours to improve work-based skills, productivity and future sustainability of the country’s engineering and manufacturing sectors.

During the year, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) rated Competenz as a Category 1 organisation, highly confident in educational performance and self assessment capability. This is the highest rating awarded by NZQA and reflects very well on the commitment to excellence across all levels of the organisation.

Furthermore, the organisation’s performance meant that in 2018, Competenz rated the highest of the 11 ITOs when averaged across all measured Education Performance Indicators. Perhaps most importantly, the customer Net Promoter Score (NPS) performance rating from our employers rose by 10 points to a very impressive +52, putting Competenz in the ‘excellent’ range.

These impressive statistics and assessments are very pleasing, they reflect well on all staff and their commitment to our goals. We continue 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, better learning materials and streamlined IT processes, to name a few.

Financial performance for the year ended 31 December 2018, was satisfactory with a small surplus of $250,000 – a significant improvement on the $1,936,000 loss incurred in 2017. Despite an increase in expenditure of more than $500,000 on capital items including new learning materials, and IT systems the cash position improved by nearly $2 million and continues to provide a strong basis for future investment. We have also seen an increase in the percentage of employer contributions from 52% to 57% of total revenue, indicating positive tangible support for the work we are doing in partnership with employers and industry organisations.

Another significant factor which was well handled by Competenz staff during the year, has been the disruption to the head office working environment with construction of the new Scentre Group shopping mega complex at Newmarket.

At the time of writing this report, the whole ITO sector is facing significant change through the Reform of Vocational Education, announced in February 2019. The initial review was undertaken in 2018 to address the poor financial performance of the polytechnic sector. In February, the ITO sector was added to this review with a proposal to transfer the arranging training functions and the learners associated with the ITO sector into the polytechnic sector. 

We have consulted heavily with our stakeholders and these changes have been fiercely opposed by the vast majority of employers across all industries who value the arranging training function that the ITOs provide with their heavy focus on the on-job support. This industry view has underpinned our submission to the Government.

I want to reassure our employees, employers, apprentices and trainees that the Board and leadership of Competenz is doing their utmost to ensure that this critical partnership with industry is preserved and we will continue to work alongside our employers to upskill the New Zealand workforce.

Finally, my thanks go to departing directors Kelly Smith and Anita Rosentreter for their contributions to the governance of the organisation. Welcome back to Bill Newson and welcome to our new director George Adams. Bill is General Secretary of E Tū and returns to fill the role reserved for the union movement following an earlier term on the Board. George Adams is an experienced company director with extensive expertise in the food and beverage sector. The Board has been enthusiastically engaged in the governance of the business through the year and, more particularly, in the events of the Review of Vocational Education. 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 their commitment and contributions to what has been an extremely successful, yet at times, stressful year.

We all look forward to a successful outcome to our lobbying efforts and the continued opportunity to contribute to the upskilling of the NZ workforce through implementation of the Competenz strategy.

To our 180 staff members, we thank you for the work you do 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.


Mike Simm