Minister announces Food and Fibre Centre of Vocational Excellence

Date: 3 September 2020

The announcement of the Food and Fibre Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) today is seen as an exciting opportunity for training and education in the primary industries. The Food and Fibre CoVE is one of a number of CoVEs that will be created through the Government’s Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE).

CoVEs are a key part of the reform. Their role will be to drive innovation and excellence in vocational education by strengthening the links between industry, the vocational education sector, leading researchers and communities.

While the primary sector CoVE will be based at the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) in Hawke’s Bay, the initiative is led by the Food and Fibre CoVE Consortium. The consortium includes several education providers and industry leaders including Beef+Lamb NZ, Dairy NZ, Federated Farmers, The Forestry and Wood Processing Workforce Council, NZ Apples and Pears, Seafood NZ and NZ Winegrowers, just to name a few.

“The CoVE’s mantra is ‘learner focused, industry led, government enabled”, said Jeremy Baker, Chair of the Food and Fibre CoVE Consortium who submitted the successful proposal to the tertiary Education Commission (TEC). “The food and fibre sectors are the backbone of communities all over Aotearoa New Zealand as well as New Zealand’s economy and export earnings.”

Key outcomes of the Food and Fibre CoVE include a focus on strengthening the collaboration within the sector to produce well-trained and work-ready graduates and provide better upskilling and re-skilling opportunities. The CoVE will also support the development of workplace-based learning models that are better suited to industry needs and consolidate the connection between industry and the education providers to create a better understanding of the industry and employment contexts.

“This is a significant achievement which speaks to the opportunities for food and fibre in the Reform of Vocational Education and the unprecedented level of collaboration across the food and fibre sector,” said Jeremy Baker, adding “this is a decisive step forward in the partnership between the food and fibre sectors and government.”

Reflecting on the opportunity and sector enthusiasm Jeremy pointed out, “all members of the Food and Fibre CoVE are excited to get started on helping to build an education and training system that is responsive and fit-for-purpose”.

As a member of the new Food and Fibre CoVE, QCONZ are very excited to provide vocational training solutions to support our customers build sustainable, ethical and safe food production capability. We have now received the final NZQA unit standards for our suite of formal qualification services. This means that in our expansion of training services for the Primary Sector we have increased our consent to assess across 26 education domains including Farming, Pest, Rural Servicing, Resources, Agribusiness Management, Systems Engineering, Food Safety, Workplace Health and Safety.

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