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Te Pūkenga And Learners Work Together To Design The Future

Te Pūkenga ākonga (learners) and kaimahi (staff) are working together to develop a system that meets the needs of its ākonga, particularly Māori, Pacific and disabled ākonga who are often underserved.

Learner Journey and Experience Deputy Chief Executive Tania Winslade says, "From 1 January 2023, Te Pūkenga will be the largest tertiary education network in Aotearoa. We have an opportunity to drive real change that addresses persistent inequity within the tertiary education system through a whole-of-system approach.

"In 2020, Te Pūkenga conducted ‘Te Rito’ research which gave an understanding of what ākonga need to realise their potential. We then focused on piloting network-wide initiatives that support the holistic wellbeing of ākonga, like whakawhanaungatanga for prestart, tuakana-teina mentorships, and expanding access to free mental health services for all learners."

The Learner Journey and Experience team is now at the co-design stage, workshopping ideas for improving systems, processes, and outcomes, particularly for ākonga Māori and other underserved learner groups.

During May, Te Pūkenga is out in the network working with ākonga and kaimahi across the country to discover their ideas about succeeding in education in their region. The engagement process involves ākonga in co-design work towards the creation of a Learner (with Whānau) Success and Equity Strategy. This important piece of work sets out what Te Pūkenga will deliver over the next 10 years to make sure learners, apprentices and trainees have what they need to thrive and succeed when undertaking vocational or applied training.

Established in 2020, Te Pūkenga is one of the key changes of the Reform of Vocational Education. Te Pūkenga Charter, embedded in the Education and Training Act 2020, provides clear direction for how the organisation must create a transformational vocational education system that had learners at its centre.

Kaikōkiri Director Learner Innovation Debbie Preston says, "The strategy’s co-design process builds on our research into the barriers and enablers for learners - particularly those who have previously been traditionally underserved. Te Rito research has become an essential resource for keeping ākonga at the centre of Te Pūkenga projects.

All parts of Te Pūkenga are involved, with the Interim Learner Advisory Committee looking at options for the future state of learner voice and representation and learners success priorities for 2023.

Jordan Gush - BCITO apprentice, Interim Learner Advisory Committee, and Te Pūkenga Council member was part of this korero on 16 May. Jordan says, "It’s great to be part of designing a more connected and better experience, not only ourselves but for all those that come after us. Everyone should have opportunities to reach their goals."

Committee co-chair Dahrian Watene commented, "To provide better futures for our whānau, and knowing that the mahi we do now will reach into future generations keeps us committed to these changes."

This first series of wānanga will be followed by further engagements across the motu later in the year as Te Pūkenga continues to extend and build on ideas and innovation.

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