It’s been more than 20 years since the first learners enrolled in Competenz trade apprenticeships with the Royal New Zealand Navy. Since then, 4,479 qualifications have been achieved by Navy personnel and today, more than 300 trainees are currently enrolled in study programmes.
Initially, the Navy awarded qualifications only to technical trades, but the establishment of the relationship with Competenz in 1996 has helped expand this offering to now being able to award qualifications in almost all trades. Competenz currently supports the Navy in mechanical engineering, maritime, nautical science, and business.
The Competenz training programmes on offer are varied, and include the NZ Apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering, a Diploma in Nautical Science, two Domestic Maritime crewing qualification’s and the NZ Certificate in Business at levels 3 and 4.
The Navy has around 2,000 Regular Force (RF), 392 Naval Reserves and 108 civilians in its ranks. Henare Cameron is the Naval Training Systems Manager, Fleet Personnel and Training. He says training is an important and integral part of a naval career.
“A traning programme such as an apprenticeship brings all employees to a higher level, developing skill sets that allow them to undertake a greater variety of work. Being able to offer our people meaningful industry qualifications as part of being in the service demonstrates that we, as an organisation, value their contribution. We are after all, helping to train the future workforce of New Zealand and beyond,” he says.
“The Navy likes to be able to offer civilian qualifications so that when personnel leave they have recognition of the skills and experience they have achieved within the Service. The fact that qualifications are offered also assists with retention and recruitment,” says Competenz Key Account Manager Paula Langford.
With so many learners enrolled in training programmes, support from Competenz is invaluable to the Navy.
Paula Langford maintains a strategic partnership with the Navy, advising on solutions to meet their changing needs. Account executive Anne White is based in Devonport and provides administration support, advice to learners, and co-ordinates training. Both Amit Kumra, Regional Manager Apprenticeship Team and John Crombie, Training Advisor support the Navy with technical advice on the mechanical engineering qualifications.
“The management of traineeships, apprenticeships and qualifications within the New Zealand Navy is complex and different from industry in that there are many stakeholders,” says Henare.
“The majority of training is delivered in-house at the naval base in Devonport, but occasionally the Navy contracts external providers to deliver specialist courses, of which Competenz facilitates the delivery. Using its professional network, Competenz is able to recommend providers for these specialist areas.
“I’ve received sound advice, excellent customer service, a relatively seamless administration of qualification reporting and a willingness to help wherever they can, removing the burden of industry qualification management. Paula and Anne are part of the wider Navy family and are backed by a leadership team at Competenz who understand that maintaining good working relationships is vital to ongoing success.
“Competenz is a strategic partner who has worked with the Navy to understand what we are trying to achieve in the qualification space, what our challenges are and they continue to provide a valued service.”