October 17, 2021
Toi Mai Workforce Development Council (WDC) today announced the appointment of Dr Claire Robinson as Chief Executive. The appointment is a significant milestone in the establishment of the Workforce Development Council, which will give sectors including creative, cultural, recreation and technology greater leadership in the vocational education and training system.
Claire is currently Professor of Communication Design, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Massey University’s College of Creative Arts in Wellington. She is also an award-winning designer, an author, playwright, political scientist, and one of New Zealand’s respected political commentators.
Co-chairs of Toi Mai WDC, Rhonda Kite and Victoria Spackman, said: “We are thrilled that Claire will be leading Toi Mai and are excited to have her in our whānau. Toi Mai WDC faces unique challenges and opportunities because, although our sectors make a massive contribution to the economy and culture of Aotearoa, they don’t all currently have a strong voice in the vocational education system. As well as employers, we need to connect with the entrepreneurial, independent earners and volunteers who currently work in our sectors and bring the benefits of vocational education to life for them. Claire’s mana and understanding of our sectors will help us achieve this.”
Welcoming her appointment, Claire said: “This is an amazing opportunity. Throughout my career, I have been passionate about promoting the value of creative, cultural, recreation and technology industries. As well as contributing massively to our economy, COVID-19 has highlighted the vital role that Toi Mai industries play in our personal wellbeing and identity. Toi Mai will give our workforces a much-needed platform that doesn’t currently exist. Taking action to improve equity and opportunity has also been a theme throughout my career. Another aspect of the role that attracted me is that a core purpose of WDCs is to improve outcomes for Māori – this is written into the legislation that underpins Toi Mai and sets an awesome precedent.”
Toi Mai WDC has also appointed Jenni Pethig to the role of General Manager Qualifications and Assurance. Jenni has been involved in the industry training sector for over 25 years and is currently General Manager, Learning Solutions at Skills Active.
Commenting on her new role, Jenni said: “I am really excited to be part of setting up a new organisation that will kaitiaki the taonga of qualifications and standards from Transitional Industry Training Organisations. I am also looking forward to being part of a team that will build new relationships and new learning opportunities for the creative, culture, recreation and technology sectors.”
Rhonda Kite and Victoria Spackman said: “It’s great to be announcing Jenni’s appointment at the same time as Claire’s. Jenni is coming to us from Skills Active, so she will be familiar to many people who we will be working with, and is well placed to hit the ground running.”
The industries represented by Toi Mai WDC include graphic, creative and web design, Ngā Toi Māori, game and software development, museums and amusement parks, libraries and archiving, performing arts, film and music, hairdressing, make-up artistry, some skincare, journalism, radio and television broadcasting, information and communications technology and systems, recreational facilities/venues and sport.
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