Long-serving Competenz Chairman retires

June 4, 2020

Competenz Trust Board’s long-serving Chairman Mike Simm announced his retirement from the role at their recent Annual General Meeting.

Competenz CEO Fiona Kingsford said Mr Simm’s contribution over the last eight years has been invaluable for the Industry Training Organisation (ITO).

“Mike’s passion for youth development, vocational education and our industries has led Competenz to become a highly respected and trusted advisor with our industries and Government.

On a personal note, I have truly valued Mike’s support and mentorship over the past four years and will miss his wisdom and insight,” Ms Kingsford added.

Mr Simm is a professional director and a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Directors. An accountant by training, he has worked across a range of industries including manufacturing, engineering and the construction sector before shifting to tourism and regional economic development, serving as director/trustee/advisor in companies, trusts and local and central government entities. His career has also focused on youth development and transitions from school to work, particularly through his work as a trustee of various community trusts in Northland.

“It has been a great privilege to have been part of the Competenz journey, overseeing the great contribution that we make to the New Zealand economy through vocational training and to be closely associated with the people that bring that to life.

Some of my most treasured moments have been visiting the workplaces and discussing challenges and opportunities with employers and learners. This is where ‘the rubber hits the road’ for us and where I have been able to experience first-hand the opportunities we have to make a real contribution to upskilling the New Zealand workforce and all the collateral benefits that accrue from that,” Mr Simm said.

Mr Simm’s concluding remarks to the Board emphasised the need to continue to work constructively with the Government on the RoVE process to ensure that the final product remains relevant and engaging for employers and learners. The Board thanked him for his contribution over a period that saw significant change in vocational training in New Zealand and the growth of Competenz as a leading player in the ITO sector.

It was resolved at the AGM to leave open the vacancy caused by Mr Simm’s departure. A one-year extension to the terms of existing board members Bryn Thompson and Judy Newcombe was also announced.

These decisions were taken in consultation with the Appointments Committee and reflect an expectation that the Competenz Trust is likely to be wound up in the foreseeable future as part of the Government’s Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) plans.

Newly elected Board Chair George Adams has 30 years of experience leading companies in New Zealand, Africa and Europe, which has given him an in-depth appreciation of the benefits of industry training to learners, companies and the country. He is an experienced professional executive and director, and a strong advocate for the FMCG, forestry, and health and safety sectors.

The former Chair of the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council, George currently holds chairman and directorship roles on the boards of the Worker Related Health Advisory Board, the Business Leaders Health and Safety Forum, Mix Cosmetics, Apollo Foods, Tegel Group Holdings Limited, Insightful Mobility, Arborgen, Cavalier Corporation and Netlogix Limited. He also chaired the 2014 Independent Forestry Safety Inquiry.

Ms Kingsford said she and the Competenz Trust Board look forward to working with Mr Adams in his new role. The board also approved the Competenz Annual Report for 2019, which can be viewed online