EIT to host the new NZ Food and Fibre Centre of Vocational Excellence

EIT is excited to announce that the institute was selected to host the New Zealand Food and Fibre Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE). It is one of a number of CoVEs that will be created through the Governments Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE).

CoVEs are a key part of the reform. Their role will be to drive innovation and excellence in the 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 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 Fiber CoVE include a focus on strengthen 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.

EIT Board Chair Hilton Collier is optimistic about the exciting opportunities that lie ahead and highlights, “EIT is one of New Zealand’s leading Institutes of Technology and is now part of the new national institution NZIST. EIT has significant capability and expertise in the primary industries education. EIT is very well connected within the booming primary sector in the Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti regions. Our 45-year experience as education provider and our longstanding relationships with industry will have a positive impact on the work of the CoVE.”

EIT CEO Chris Collins says that the CoVE will bring together all relevant people and bodies needed to grow excellent vocational education provision and share high-quality curriculum and programme design across the system. “We fully support a stronger focus on vocational and applied education in order to help industry, businesses and communities thrive.”

“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.”

MP for Napier, Stuart Nash, welcomed the announcement and says, “Selecting EIT as the host of the CoVE recognises the fantastic work that EIT does in Hawke’s Bay and also recognises the academic and industry experience we have in this region.”

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”.