Primary ITO joins Te Pūkenga Work Based Learning

5 October 2022

Primary ITO has become the final industry training organisation to join Te Pūkenga Work-Based Learning, making it the country’s largest on-the-job-training organisation.

Primary ITO and Te Pūkenga kaimahi at Pipitea Marae in Wellington

Te Pūkenga Work-Based Learning is now the country’s largest on-the-job-training organisation with the last industry training organisation, Primary ITO, joining Te Pūkenga.

Primary ITO’s 270 kaimahi (staff) join over 1200 kaimahi who have already transitioned into Te Pūkenga Work Based Learning from Competenz, Connexis, BCITO, MITO, ServiceIQ, Careerforce, HITO, and parts of Skills.

"Today is a significant milestone for vocational education in Aotearoa," says Toby Beaglehole, Chief Executive of Te Pūkenga Work-Based Learning.

"Te Pūkenga network now has an unrivalled and unprecedented breadth and depth of on-the-job learning expertise and capability.

"We are excited to share the challenge ahead of providing integrated on-the-job and classroom learning to support learners, employers and communities to gain the skills, knowledge and capabilities that Aotearoa New Zealand needs now and for the future."

Ākonga (learners) and employers across agriculture, horticulture, processing and many other primary sector industries are now officially learning with Te Pūkenga.

Primary ITO supports around 20,000 learners at 6000 employers, as well as over 1000 secondary school students in the country’s biggest trades academy.

Kaimahi and representatives from Primary ITO and Te Pūkenga joined a pōwhiri at Wellington’s Pipitea Marae as Primary ITO became the eighth industry training organisation to become a division of Te Pūkenga subsidiary Te Pūkenga Work-Based Learning.

"We’ve been working closely with Primary ITO for over a year to make sure that ākonga, employers and industry get uninterrupted service during this transition, along with the upcoming benefits of our new way of supporting learners," says Toby.

"We’re delighted to welcome them to our whānau. Making the transition as smooth as possible for everyone involved is critically important," says Toby.

"We’ve taken a ‘lift and shift’ approach, so Primary ITO’s ākonga and kaimahi will see little change in these early days."

Primary ITO Division Director Nigel Philpott says the industries represented are some of biggest employers and exporters in Aotearoa New Zealand.

"We’ve taken time to make this transition and will take a lot more time to fully integrate into Te Pūkenga. We really believe in a vision of vocational education where learners can move seamlessly from the classroom, to the workplace, to online, and that’s what we’re working for.

"Our people are very excited to be joining an organisation with the scale of Te Pūkenga and they’ll have a new ability to access best practice, knowledge and talent across our vocational education network.

"Over time we’re looking forward to learners around New Zealand getting more and better access to training, whether they’re on a farm in the Chatham Islands, an orchard in Central Otago, or public gardens in Auckland."

"Our learners and employers can expect to see their same trusted Primary ITO people," says Nigel. "And we’re very much focused on helping New Zealand businesses get the skills they need." 

From 1 January 2023 Work-Based Learning will transition into Te Pūkenga itself, with Primary ITO becoming a business division. 

Te Pūkenga, New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, was established in 2020 as one of seven key changes of the Reform of Vocational Education.

Te Pūkenga is building a national network bringing together on-the-job, on campus, and online learning that supports learners, employers and communities to gain the skills, knowledge, and capabilities Aotearoa needs now and for the future.

Te Pūkenga brings together 16 polytechnics and institutes of technology and nine industry training organisations. It will provide flexible, career-focused learning that fits around your life – on-the-job, on campus and online. Helping our people, our communities and our workforces grow and thrive together.