Helping Māori and Pasifika learners build their skills in the workplace

January 1, 2019

About this research project

Competenz commissioned this research with our research partner, the University of Auckland Business School, to help us understand how we can help our Māori and Pasifika learners build their skills in the workplace.

We wanted to answer two questions for the 37 industries we support:

  • How relevant is a learner’s ethnicity in predicting how likely they are to enrol in and complete a qualification?
  • How can we help our Māori and Pasifika learners build their skills?

What we learned

The compelling issue for our Māori and Pasifika learners is participation.
  • Outside forestry, our Māori learners are enrolling in industry training at a rate that is considerably lower than the rate at which they participate in the workforce (3.9% in trades, 7.7% in traineeships, 12% in the workforce)
  • Our Pasifika learners are enrolling in workplace trades training at a rate that is considerably lower than the rate at which they participate in the workforce, and in traineeships training at a rate that is well ahead (3.2% in trades, 14% in traineeships, 4.9% in the workforce).

Ethnicity does not predict whether our learners complete their trades or traineeships qualifications
  • Our Māori and Pasifika learners complete their qualifications at the same rate as learners of other ethnicities
  • Other factors such as the learner’s age, prior qualifications or programme of study are more relevant than ethnicity in predicting whether the learner will succeed.

Most of the factors which help our Māori and Pasifika learners complete their qualifications, and the factors that make it hard for them to complete, are common to all our learners
  • This means the approach Competenz has taken in the past five years of identifying and supporting all struggling learners, regardless of their ethnicity, has been (and continues to be) the right one.

How we are acting on the results of this research

We have three clear priorities. Most of these activities will benefit all our learners, whatever their ethnicity.

Priority one: career paths

We need to promote workplace learning and careers in the trades by:

  • Lifting the perception of the trades as worthwhile careers
  • Working with Māori and Pasifika communities in appropriate ways
  • Using successful Māori and Pasifika learners as role models and ambassadors
  • Contributing to a smooth transition between school and the workforce for trades.

Priority two: assessments and book work

We need to improve our assessment and study materials and our assessment processes by:

  • Making our assessment materials simpler
  • Making our assessment processes and tools more accessible to learners
  • Making our study materials more engaging and relevant to learners.

Priority three: support for our learners

We need to continue to identify and support our struggling learners by:

  • Supporting them with appropriate pastoral care
  • Helping them build their literacy skills
  • Working closely with employers to model and promote good work practices and work ethic.

We need to support all these activities by building stronger cultural partnerships and understanding
  • We need to develop stronger partnerships with Māori and Pasifika community groups and training providers
  • We need to broaden and deepen cultural understanding across Competenz.

Read our formal response here