Over 27-28 January 2021, TEU hosted Designing Together – A conversation about Te Pūkenga’s operating model, and provided an opportunity for union members, sector leaders, and most importantly those with lived experience and expertise to come together to discuss the principles, structures, processes, roles, and rules needed to make Te Pūkenga a strong network of provision.

The forum involved more than 65 TEU members; Te Pūkenga Chief Executive, Stephen Town; five of the six Te Pūkenga Deputy Chief Executives; Director of the Reform of Vocational Education, David Strong; NZQA Chief Executive, Grant Klinkum; and members from the Ernst Young and Ernst Young Tahi teams. Consistent with the kaupapa of co-operation and collaboration, there were also representatives from other unions TIASA  and AASC.

Over the first day of the forum members discussed and debated the principles that will underpin how the new structure will work. In total there are seven core principles attendants agreed will be key to ensuring the transformational potential of vocational education in Aotearoa.

• Te Tiriti o Waitangi

• Wellbeing

• Interrelationship

• Consistency

• Sustainability

• Transformation

• Equity.

If Te Pūkenga is to successfully fulfil its role and functions in the interest of providing transformative, quality education, it needs to place Te Tiriti o Waitangi, learners, staff, and universal design principles at the heart of its operating model. By doing so, the operating model will be conducive to supporting other fundamental elements of Te Pūkenga’s operations as well as, more broadly, a vocational education system that both empowers staff and meets the changing needs of learners and their whānau, communities, iwi, hapū, and industry.