The Food and Fibre Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) has been officially launched in Hawke’s Bay, one of seven proposed CoVEs in the country. Two CoVEs have been set up to date – the Food and Fibre CoVE hosted at EIT and the Construction and Infrastructure CoVE hosted at MIT in Auckland.

As part of the government’s reform of vocational education and funded by TEC (Tertiary Education Commission), the Food and Fibre CoVE in Hawke’s Bay is designed to “drive innovation and excellence in vocational education by connecting industry with the vocational education sector, researchers, and communities and focusing on attracting, retaining and growing talent in the workforce”.

CoVE involves a consortium of stakeholders including EIT, local Iwi, the Forestry Industry Contractors Assn, NZ Apples and Pears, NZ Beef and Lamb, Horticulture NZ and Dairy NZ.

“While these are all national organisations, they all have a significant presence in Hawke’s Bay,” says newly appointed CoVE general manager Paul Hollings. “A number of individual employers both large and small from across the industry are showing genuine interest and support. We will engage regularly with these and other employers and stakeholders to ensure that everyone remains informed and that gains made are available to all.”

Paul says his first priority is to establish relationships with stakeholders, get his team on board including two new portfolio managers (an operations and administration co-ordinator has already been appointed) and kick off two foundation projects.

“We will carry out a stocktake of what is already happening and how well those existing activities are serving learners, employers and the food and fibre industry as a whole. We will use that information to help inform projects that have been proposed by stakeholders to further develop, redevelop, enhance and improve vocational education in the sector. All projects are considered from the point of view that the outcome must be scalable and able to be applied across all sectors of the industry.” 

Two examples of projects CoVE will support are the Māori Cadetship/Apprenticeship Programme and Microcredential Framework. 

“Both these projects have been put forward by stakeholders and once complete will bring new and valuable models forward for the industry and training providers to utilise. 

“All CoVE activity and outputs will have benefits for Hawke’s Bay. As a major food and fibre region we need a ready, able and skilled, well led and productive workforce and that is the aim of the CoVE in a nutshell.”

Pictured: General manager Paul Hollings (middle) with board members (from left), Ben Allomes, Prue Younger, Sandy Scarrow, Mark Paine, Turi Ngatai, and Glen Harkness. Not in the photo, board members Wiremu McMillan and William Beetham.

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