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2023 Strategic Priorities and Targeted Outcomes

1. Context

1.1 The vocational education reforms in Aotearoa New Zealand are well underway. Ara Institute of Canterbury Limited was dissolved in October 2022 and Ara has since become a Business Division of Te Pūkenga, the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology.

1.2 Te Pūkenga is concurrently undertaking our detailed design and establishment phases with functional areas and responsibilities across Aotearoa moving progressively towards a nationalised structure. The structural design and evolving operating model are required to enable Te Pūkenga to fulfil our obligations as set out in the Charter.

1.3 The Charter requires Te Pūkenga to meet the following key outcomes:

a. Give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi in all that we do.

b. Provide exceptional learning experiences and equitable outcomes for Māori.

c. Be learner centred. Recognise the diverse and unique needs of all learners, with a focus on the unmet needs of Māori, Pacific and disabled learners, and staff, to empower diversity, belonging, and wellbeing.

d. Partner with employers to deliver relevant work-integrated education that meets skills needs.

e. Be responsive and empowering to staff and learners.

f. Become a connected and future focussed education provider driven by innovation, collaboration, research, data driven decision-making and teaching excellence.

g. Delivering regional flexibility and nationally consistent outcomes. Create barrier free access, mobility across, and clear pathways within the network for learners.

h. Become a sustainable network of provision creating social, economic, environmental, and cultural wellbeing.

i. Focus on efficient and cost-effective delivery across the network.

1.4 The Charter also states that Te Pūkenga will have a specific focus on responding to the needs of the regions and must:

a. Offer in each region a mix of education and training, including on-the-job, face-to-face, and distance delivery that is accessible to the learners of that region and meets the needs of its learners, industries, and communities; and[1]

b. Operate in a manner that ensures its regional representatives are empowered to make decisions about delivery and operations that are informed by local relationships and to make decisions that meet the needs of their communities; and

c. Ensure that international learners are attracted to train and study in regions throughout New Zealand; and

d. Ensure that there is collaboration across its national network; and

e. Maintain a high-quality, coherent network of infrastructure that meets regional skills needs.

1.5 Te Pūkenga has articulated our Vision and Purpose:

Tō mātou tirohanga roa | Our vision

Whakairohia he toki, tāraia te anamata | Learning with purpose, creating our futures.

Tō mātou pūtake | Our purpose

E tuku ana e Te Pūkenga ngā huarahi mātauranga hiranga, tino kounga hoki hei tautoko i ngā ākonga, ngā kaitukumahi me ngā hapori ki te whiwhi i ngā pūkenga, mōhiotanga, āheinga hoki kei te hiahiatia e Aotearoa i āianei, mō āpōpō hoki. Noho ai ngā ākonga me ō rātou whānau hei pūtake mō ā mātou mahi katoa.

Te Pūkenga provides excellent and quality educational opportunities that support learners, employers and communities to gain the skills, knowledge and capabilities that Aotearoa New Zealand needs now and for the future. Learners and their whānau are at the centre of all that we do.

1.6 At Ara | Te Pūkenga we have aligned our transformation journey to that of Te Pūkenga for some years. We have ensured our focus areas are consistent with the aspirations of the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) and Te Pūkenga, and in 2022 we created the Ara “Big 5”. Specifically, our attention in 2022 was focused on:

a. He aronga pae motuhake |Relentless focus on equity

b. Kia inati te ako | Exceptional learning experiences

c. Hononga rau, oranga rau | Increased colleague engagement and wellbeing

d. Tūhono mai i tawhiti | Greater regional access

e. Rautaki tātai rawa | Regional master plan

1.7 2022 was a very difficult year to navigate. COVID-19 continued to influence the way we worked and will likely have a profound impact on our ways of working for the foreseeable future. The establishment of Te Pūkenga as an entity was also not without significant challenge and has been impactful on colleague sentiment towards the reforms and their individual wellbeing.

1.8 In times of significant uncertainty and change people look for stability and a clear sense of purpose and direction. The Big 5 provided this in 2022. Each focus area provided a clear reference point on which we could anchor ourselves and ensure that we stayed aligned with our mission of Transforming Lives Through Education.

1.9 For these reasons the Big 5 will live on in 2023. They have been reviewed by Te Kāhui Manukura (TKM) with only one change. Additionally, the outcomes that we are seeking to achieve under each of the Big 5 have been honed, in recognition that there are some fundamental items integral to our success that need sharper and more purposeful effort. We consider these items foundational to achieving the intent of the reforms and attaining long-term sustainability.

1.10 The amended Big 5 focus area related to our people’s wellbeing will now read:

Manawa nui, manawa roa, manawa ora | Support our integration journey

The intent of this change is to remain focused on colleague wellbeing while at the same time emphasising that we are integrating into the new Te Pūkenga structure and that this needs focused support. We will use Te Pūkenga values to guide us on this journey:

Manawa nui | We reach out and welcome in

Manawa roa | We learn and achieve together

Manawa ora | We strengthen and grow the whole person

1.11 The guiding intent of the Big 5 for 2023 is to ensure we focus on the fundamentals that underpin success in our business model, that will ensure we fulfil the core purpose of delivering relevant, sustainable, quality teaching and learning valued by our partners, industry, and community. TKM will be promoting collective ownership and accountability for the Big 5 and will use them to inform planning, resource allocation, performance management, and recognition.

1.12 Several business change initiatives will also be undertaken. These will assist Ara | Te Pūkenga with its integration into Te Pūkenga and support us to meet Canterbury’s regional needs. We expect delivering these initiatives will enable the Southern Region to be responsive to the vocational training and skills development needs and requirements identified by our Te Tiriti partners, industry, and other community stakeholders. It is clear from the design of the Unified Funding System (UFS) that the way education has been offered in the past in the ITP sector will no longer be sustainable. These business change initiatives also acknowledge the signals of the UFS, together with some longstanding system design challenges, to further the Ara | Te Pūkenga Business Division’s journey of responsive change.

2. 2023 Big 5 Priorities and Targeted Outcomes

Ara | Te Pūkenga has chosen five priorities for 2023 that align to the expectations of the Charter, Te Pūkenga strategies and objectives, and regional needs. The priorities were chosen to further amplify and improve areas of good performance, and to address poor performance, as well as factors that are known to positively influence outcomes for priority learner groups. The associated Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each priority have been chosen to align with the expectations set out in Te Pūkenga Investment Plan.  

2.1 He aronga pae motuhake | Relentless focus on equity

a. A relentless focus on equity for Māori and other priority learners is of utmost priority for Te Pūkenga (see the Charter, Letters of Expectation, Te Piko) and is a cornerstone of our Framework for Māori Achievement. This focus on equity recognises that our traditionally underserved learners and their whānau experience barriers when accessing education. Equity is a process, not an outcome. It requires us to invest more in those who have less so that we can increase priority learner participation, retention and achievement and, in doing so, fast-track socioeconomic wellbeing across Aotearoa New Zealand. Under Te Tiriti, we have an obligation to ensure that our education system is designed with, and delivers for, Māori. This requires us to think beyond our present philosophies, practices and capabilities and collaborate, co-create and co-decide on matters of shared focus and responsibility with our Te Tiriti partners. Our Letter of Expectations clearly outlines our commitment to honour and give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi within our systems, policies and practices. This includes the interrogation of our decisions to ensure that they maintain a sharp focus on equity. It also requires us to partner effectively with local iwi and hapū representatives - our Treaty partners – to support and empower their tino rangatiratanga (ability to make decisions about their people and places). By actively pursuing and delivering on these expectations, we will support priority learners and their whānau to come, stay and succeed at Ara | Te Pūkenga.

b. To guide and support us along this journey in 2023, Ara | Te Pūkenga will measure our efforts against five KPIs. Four of these will focus us on the recruitment, retention, and success of priority learners. Improvement will only occur when we all lean into this challenge, which is why Māori Achievement Plans are being developed for each teaching cluster and support service area. These plans will be monitored regularly by TKM and incorporated into our performance management frameworks.

c. The fifth KPI relates to our workforce. It recognises that our ability to affect Māori learner success requires institutional capacity and workforce capability to integrate and embed kaupapa and mātauranga Māori within our learning environments and surrounding support services. We also know that the age-old adage "If you can see it, you can be it" speaks to the human condition, and the more that our priority learners see themselves within our workforce, the more they will believe that they too can succeed.

d. We also need to capture specific and comprehensive priority learner and kaimahi data to better inform our planning and decision making.

e. Key Performance Indicators

i. Achieve a 2% uplift on 2022 number of learners for Māori, Pacific, and Disabled. (This is not based on EFTS.)


- Māori 1,739 + 2% = 1,774

- Pacific 708 + 2% = 722

- Disabled 1,842 + 2% = 1,879

ii. Reduce attrition of Māori, Pacific, and disabled learners by 3%.


- Māori 3%       (28.3%  2022)

- Pacific 8%       (25.8%  2022)

- Disabled 88 %   (21.88%  2022) 

iii. Improve on prior year’s achievement by 2% for each priority learner group.


- Māori 0%      (78%  2022)

- Pacific 8%      (71.8%  2022)

- Disabled 4          (80.4%  2022) 

iv. 15% of our workforce is Māori.


- Establish a baseline measure by end of Q1 and monitor throughout the year

v. Each teaching and support cluster will have a Māori Achievement Plan that identifies strategic actions they will take to attain achievement of KPIs i -iv above. Each group will use the Te Pae Tawhiti Framework to inform and reflect on their performance, outcomes, and impact.


- Plans completed and signed off by TKM by 30 April 2023. Reviewed quarterly within departments.

2.2 Kia inati te ako | Exceptional learning experiences

a. Exceptional learning experiences underpin our core purpose. We know that our people, passionate about making a difference to the lives of their learners and whānau, deliver exceptional experiences time and time again. We know excellence in teaching and support for learners contributes to building a sense of belonging, purpose and connection. We identify support needs early and deploy all our resources to develop and grow learner capability, autonomy, and agency holistically. The experience for learners then reaches beyond the classroom and into the world of work by supporting learners to progress into employment with confidence and ease.

b. As in 2022, we will continue to improve our Net Promoter Score (NPS) in 2023, complementing quality measurements of teaching, learning, support services and graduate outcomes. These measures will provide an objective mechanism for measuring our performance from a broader, more customer-focused perspective. Graduate Alumni, Graduate Outcome and Student Experience surveys will help us identify areas for further improvement and will provide a strong indicator of assurance as to the ongoing relevance of our programme portfolio and accompanying modes of delivery.

c. Ara | Te Pūkenga and our colleague vocational education partners must use the capability and capacity of Te Pūkenga network to improve integration and efficiency of education and training provision within our region. As such, programmes will be regularly evaluated to ensure the Ara | Te Pūkenga portfolio remains relevant, financially sustainable, reflects the needs of the South Island region, and is assessed against a pre-determined matrix to enhance equity, accessibility, applies universal design principles, and is culturally inclusive.

d. Key Performance Indicators

i. Achieve the budget set for 2023 – $ and EFTS.


- 6,879.1 EFTS

- Budget 2023, deficit no greater than $8.65M before abnormal items

- Achieve an average EFTS:FTES ratio for the Ara | Te Pūkenga programme portfolio of no less than 16:1

ii. Achieve an uplift in the Net Promoter Score (NPS), Graduate Achievement Survey (GAS) and Student Experience Survey (SES).


- NPS score = 39

- GAS score = 84%

- SES score = 84%

2.3 Manawa nui, manawa roa, manawa ora | Support our integration

a. With the transition of Ara Ltd into Te Pūkenga now complete, our attention turns to our integration into our South Island region and the national network. As the new organisational structure starts to slowly take shape, our focus on the wellbeing and engagement of our people remains critical to our ability to continue to deliver for our learners, partners and stakeholders in 2023. We will continue to support our people to find meaning and purpose in their work, to feel connected and have a sense of belonging as a part of the new organisation.

b. Continuing uncertainty around our organisational structure and the associated impact on our people, together with added budgetary pressures remains unsettling for Ara | Te Pūkenga kaimahi. Therefore, given the disruptive nature of the current integration process, the maintenance of wellbeing, engagement and psychological safety at 2022 levels is a reasonable and achievable target for our leaders and their teams.

c. Key Performance Indicators

i. Maintain, as a minimum, current levels of wellbeing of our people.


- Maintain existing wellbeing index (WHO-5) score = 13.51

- Maintain existing psychological safety score = 25.69

- Maintain existing Psychological Safety Climate-12 (PSC-12) score = 36.31

2.4 Tūhono mai i tawhiti | Greater regional access

a. Ara | Te Pūkenga will continue to target a greater level of regional participation and grow our delivery throughout Canterbury. Additionally, Ara | Te Pūkenga must work with colleague providers in our region to extend our reach and impact. This will require different approaches and ways of thinking that open up new opportunities and realise the collective impact that collaboration can bring.

b. While extending our reach, raising participation and thinking and behaving as a South Island region, Ara | Te Pūkenga must continue to push for parity of achievement and maintain high quality provision and successful outcomes for all ākonga by using our resources and data insights to best effect.

c. In the past, we have had to undertake research to understand the needs of our region, and then respond to these needs as a solitary institution. Instead, we must now seek to complement and partner with Regional Skills Leadership Groups (RSLGs) and Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) to ensure a more fulsome and balanced response.

d. We know that participation leads to success and success to transformation for individuals, whānau and communities. Measuring participation rates and successful outcomes along with aligning metrics with the expectations of RSLG and WDC partners will signal our intention and commitment to meeting regional needs and enabling learners to achieve their goals.

e. Key Performance Indicators

i. Achieve regional EFTS targets


- 309 EFTS outside of Christchurch

- Set a stretch target of 296 EFTS + 10% = 330 EFTS

- Target attainment of the overall Ara | Te Pūkenga SCC KPI of 88% for Regional Delivery

2.5 Rautaki tātai rawa | Regional master plan (RMP)

a. Our fifth Big 5 priority will further contribute to meeting our regional needs, by making efficient use of our built assets and by providing a fit-for-purpose network of infrastructure, through capital planning processes and investment into teaching, learning and supporting environments.

b. We will encourage and enable opportunities for regional network partners to work at Ara | Te Pūkenga campuses through better space utilisation.

c. The RMP seeks to identify opportunities and to provide a high-level planning framework for Ara | Te Pūkenga to inform good decision making that enables:

i. The reduction of operating costs by rationalising or reducing occupancy, improving utilisation of on-campus spaces and prioritising the use of owned spaces rather than leased spaces.

ii. The first stage of the redevelopment of the Timaru Campus – the new Trades Engineering workshop.

iii. Concept and detailed design of the remainder of the Timaru Campus.

d. Key Performance Indicators

i. Future use strategy and plan for N, S and O Blocks completed by 30 September 2023.

ii. Timaru Engineering and Trades Facility ready for delivery by year end.

iii. L Block seismic remediation plan complete by 30 September 2023 and construction programme determined.

iv. Timaru Campus Master Plan detailed design completed by year end.

[1] Education and Training Act 2020 No 38 (as at 13 July 2021), Public Act Schedule 13 Te Pūkenga—New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology’s charter – New Zealand Legislation – Clause 3(a)