Hospitality Business Magazine

Hospitality Business Leaders Forum 2023: Te Pūkenga- Facing into the challenge of change

By Peter Winder

Chief Executive of the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, Te Pūkenga


Peter Winder was officially appointed Chief Executive of the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, Te Pūkenga, in December 2022 after guiding the network through a reset and realignment as Acting Chief Executive since July of that year. Mr Winder has been involved at a governance level in the tertiary education sector for several years, including the establishment board of Te Pūkenga, and brings a wealth of experience in managing large and complex organisations.

Facing into the challenge of change

As a reader of Hospitality Business, you will know more than most about the challenges the last few years have presented; hospitality and related service sectors have had a rough time of it. You’ll appreciate the year ahead will come with its own hurdles.

If you’ve heard of Te Pūkenga, you’ll more than likely know that it’s an organisation that has also faced – and will face – significant challenges. Like you, we confront these and actively seek the opportunities and the innovation needed for us to thrive. And, like you, we do so with those we serve in mind.

In bringing together the vast experience and expertise of the network of polytechnics and industry training organisations, Te Pūkenga is on track to become Aotearoa New Zealand’s premier vocational education provider.

We have already started to leverage the many areas of best practice that sit in parts of the country and make them accessible to every employer, apprentice, workplace trainee and classroom ākonga (learner). Our mahi involves collaborating with the Ringa Hora (Services) Workforce Development Council to ensure that we develop the best outcomes for the learner and their whānau, our communities, the employer and industry.

Add to this the integration and expansion of the world-class online and distance options operating successfully within our network, and the options and opportunities for you are limitless. Leveraging these properly and well will take time and effort, but Te Pūkenga is committed to investing both to get the right outcomes.

We continue to work closely with industry, including those employers who already engage with local campuses and our workplace training divisions, and will involve industry and business associations, iwi, communities and all relevant stakeholders.

One of the leaders of this work is someone you may know: Andrew McSweeney, who led our ServiceIQ industry training division for many years, is now in my senior leadership team as Deputy Chief Executive of Learner and Employer Experience and Attraction.

There are already benefits flowing from the creation of a national network and cross-division groups. One example is the availability, should it suit your business, of free confidential counselling for workplace trainees and apprentices anywhere in the motu, helping you look after the wellbeing of your people.

Employers are set to reap more during 2023 and beyond. While ākonga are at the centre of all that we do, we know that, for on-the-job training especially, the employer and operation of the workplace are key. This is also recognised by government.

The change in funding for vocational education has redressed the balance to better support in-work training and apprenticeships, resulting in the ability to increase the support for learners and the capability of staff.

What does this mean for you?

· You will see more proven workplace best practice.

· You will start to see more and better employer-focused innovation in on-the-job training, with appropriate and effective integration of workplace, campus and online options and solutions, including the use of micro credentials and just in time training.

· You will have more support as you upskill employees, whether straight from school or seasoned in a role and ready to take their career to the next level in your business; we have the ability to deliver the training needed to support career pathways for people.

· You will discover that the former polytechnic or industry training people – our Te Pūkenga people – that you already rely on to provide help, expertise and advice, will be able to give you access to more options and solutions than ever before. For example, if you want to get training for office staff as well as kitchen staff, you now have a one-stop shop.

That’s just the start.

As noted, there will be challenges to overcome as we work to achieve our shared vision. We know what many of the challenges are. We also know that there will be some that we didn’t see coming.

In every case, we will be looking for the opportunity – for you, your people, and all those with a stake in vocational education in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Lofty as that might sound, it is grounded in doing what is right and best for all businesses and enterprises across the motu – in hospitality and every other sector. After all, without strong employers, there is less demand for talented employees, with an obvious impact on vocational education.

In delivering better value for you, Te Pūkenga will succeed.

Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa.

Peter Winder

Tumuaki | Chief Executive

Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology