CEO's report 

Accelerating towards 2020

In 2017 we made significant progress on our 2020 strategy towards becoming a truly customer-centric organisation, guided by our employers and learners and what they need to succeed.

2017 was a year of action to embed our acceleration plan which involved extensive work across five core workstreams: easy to understand pricing, new products and services, efficient digital systems, matching customers to the right service, and increasing learner success.

With a digital focus, we are increasingly delivering extra value to our customers through leading edge products and services. Throughout 2017 we rolled out a number of digital projects to transform our systems and processes so they are smart, efficient and simplified for easy interaction.

We are extremely proud of our achievements in 2017 and excited about the transformational change as we move forward.


Our achievements 

In 2017 we recorded our highest ever completion rate, with 8,061 learners achieving qualifications, up from 7,683 in 2016. The credit completion rate was 79%, increased from 75% in 2016.

We launched the first phase of a digital platform to process training agreements, enabling all information to be entered and tracked in a central location and heavily reducing our reliance on paper-based systems. This has eliminated double handling and time delays, making the sign-up process more efficient and giving employers and training advisors access to learner information online. All training advisors are now using the digital platform and account managers will continue to adopt the system in 2018.

Canvas, the new learning management system, was introduced to provide a fit-for-purpose platform for online assessment, communication, and learner tracking and reporting. More than 2,200 learners and 30 assessors used Canvas in 2017. The new system is a key enabler for the 2020 strategy to be a skills innovator and have 100% of learning content online. Our new interactive fire protection programmes are a leading example of how Canvas can transform the experience for our learners. 

The Commercial team had a successful year incubating, testing and developing new non-funded products and services. Our suite of Microlearning courses and workshops were launched in early 2017, and new systems and processes were developed for content, pricing, learner onboarding and assessment. Commercial revenue increased by 44% on 2016. 

The Sector Engagement team developed a comprehensive new strategy to work with key influencers across all of our industries. These rejuvenated partnerships have allowed us to gain industry insights and truly understand what our sectors need in terms of training solutions and workforce development, now and in the future.

An internal initiative to help staff engage effectively and genuinely with Māori and Pasifika learners, employers and organisations was piloted in August. The two-day Cultural Competency workshops facilitated by bilingual trainers at Manukau Institute of Technology were a great success and will be offered to more customer-facing staff in 2018. 

Secondary school students completed Gateway pilot programmes in engineering, furniture and butchery in 2017 to gain a more meaningful understanding of the chosen industry. The pilot programme showed potential to become a significant tool to bring talented young learners into Competenz, and additional programmes in bakery and forestry have been added for 2018. 

Competenz participated in a number of NZQA consistency reviews in 2017 as both qualification developer and tertiary education organisation. We provided sufficient evidence of consistent graduate outcomes in a wide range of qualifications across our industries, and received positive feedback from NZQA on quality of evidence provided. Assuring national consistency supports the credibility of our qualifications in New Zealand and internationally.



Our challenges 

The project work required to meet our 2020 strategy required substantial investment. A total of $1 million was invested across our five core projects alongside a significant capital expenditure programme. We also invested heavily in our product development to ensure our learners are provided with the best learning and assessment content.

The year was not without its challenges. We identified an issue within our learner database which we immediately moved to address and worked with the Tertiary Education Commission to do so. The result of this was a reduction in learner numbers and therefore underachievement in sales revenue.

Through the latter part of 2017 we reviewed and reset some of our internal systems and processes to ensure a loss like this is not repeated.

With the ongoing investment into our Accelerate 2020 workplan, product development and the underachievement of sales revenue, this resulted in a $1.9 million loss for the year.


Our people

It’s vital for Competenz to have the right capability to deliver on our 2020 strategy. In 2017 we realigned our operational structure to better suit the needs of our learners and employers. The new structure better reflects our core workstreams and is designed to enable more effective working practises across the organisation.

During the year we farewelled General Manager of Customer Experience Rachael Hopkins, General Manager of People and Culture Julie Ingram, and General Manager of Industry Training Jim MacBride-Stewart. We thank them all for their contributions to Competenz.

We also welcomed General Manager of People and Culture Kirsten Jones and appointed Toni Christie into a newly created role of General Manager of ATNZ.

We continue to invest in recruiting top talent and developing our people to ensure we are working as a truly customer-centric organisation.


Our future

In 2018 we will continue our journey as a true skills partner for our customers, delivering world class skills for our industries and continuing to deliver against our 2020 strategy. It is also an exciting time with a new Government and a review underway into vocational education and training, led by the Ministry of Education. The role of industry training continues to play a vital role in the future of work and delivering skills on-the-job will be a core part of the review.

I would like to thank our Board for their continued support and commitment, and their strong vision to enable us to deliver to our customers. Thank you to our passionate senior leadership team and all Competenz staff who have worked tirelessly and professionally through what has been a challenging year.

And a final thank you to our employers who engage and invest in training, our learners who strive to grow their skills, and our assessors and training providers who are dedicated to excellence.

We have our 2020 goals in sight and are excited about what we can achieve in 2018.



Fiona Kingsford 
Chief Executive, Competenz