Muka Tangata developing plans to meet the needs of our workforce

// Staff and Training

Muka Tangata, the People, Food and Fibre Workforce Development Council (WDC), is one of six WDCs established to provide industry and sector voice and advocacy within the vocational education system of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Muka Tangata logo

The WDCs were set as part of the Reform of Vocational Education to create a unified and sustainable system that is fit for the future. Learn more about RoVE on the Tertiary Education Commission’s website.

Muka Tangata helps industries get the skills and training needed by designing solutions to skill needs, including qualifications, standards and micro-credentials, and advising government on what training to fund. They also review and moderate qualifications and standards to best meet the needs of the food and fibre sector.

“It is a high priority for us to align industry and learner wants and needs to create a fit for purpose and future-focused vocational education and training system. We see an opportunity to embed greater flexibility and adaptability across the qualifications framework,” says Jeremy Baker, Chief Executive Muka Tangata Workforce Development Council and ex-B+LNZ employee. 

In its first year, Muka Tangata have worked to establish relationships with key organisations in the food and fibre sector, and with iwi and hāpū Māori organisations to ensure that the aspirations of Māori in the food and fibre sector are clearly heard.  

Through the Food and Fibre Futures project, the WDC were able to meet with people in the sector and get input and advice on the drivers for change and the impacts this will have on the future of vocational education and training.

The WDC are working with Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ), and others in the industry, to develop a specific workforce development plan for sheep, beef and deer farming. The plan will include a work programme to address both short and long-term challenges, and will guide the advice to the Tertiary Education Commission and industry in March 2023. 

“By allowing the industry to have greater leadership and influence across vocational education and training, it means we get people who are more equipped and have the right skills to thrive in farming,” says John Ladley B+LNZ’s South Island General Manager.

Initial advice to the Tertiary Education Commission on funding priorities includes increased funding levels to address industry growth and a focus on equity, including continued investment in foundational skills. Advice also included funding greater use of micro-credentials to provide flexibility, improving pastoral care for learners, and building inclusive and culturally appropriate vocational education, and increased support for employers to manage and train their staff. 

Muka Tangata have developed an initial Workforce Development Plan1 for the food and fibre sector that highlights. 

Supporting Māori learners and Māori agri-businesses to succeed is crucial to the future of the sector. 

With a tight labour market, a flexible and effective vocational education system can play a key role in tackling issues around recruitment, retention and growth 

Changes in technology and environmental and sustainability focus are reshaping the skill needs of the food and fibre sector. 

Have input into the future of our sector

Muka Tangata want to work with those working in beef and lamb farming to identify and implement solutions that meet your needs. 

If you’d like to contribute to the future recommendations put forward in the workforce development plans please reach out to our Engagement and Partnerships Lead, Rachael Handy –