Why we’ve signed upto the Aotearoa New Zealand Skills Pledge


Fonterra has teamed up with the Government and a group of Kiwi businesses to lead the way in upskilling the NZ workforce. Deborah Capill, Managing Director People & Culture, explains why it’s important. 

Like all New Zealanders, I want our country to be the best it can be. This includes making sure our workforce is well positioned to adapt and take advantage of new technologies that can help grow the economy.

The Aotearoa New Zealand Skills Pledge, which was recently announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, is a commitment by the Government and a group of New Zealand businesses to help with exactly that.

Together, we’re pledging to double the number of on-the-job training and reskilling hours we provide by 2025.

Each business signing up to the pledge will also publicly disclose their investment in on-the-job training and reskilling hours annually.

Fonterra is excited about the opportunity to be involved in this initiative. We know that the nature of work is evolving as we leverage new technologies and efficiencies. To remain successful and ensure that we keep evolving, we see building capabilities and reskilling our teams as a priority.

A new report out by the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council titled A Future That Works: Harnessing the Benefits of Automation – Report and Recommendations highlights the importance of preparing and supporting employees.

As part of signing the Skills Pledge, Fonterra will work to establish our baseline and from there, refine priority areas for skill development. There’ll be a focus on on-the-job training, mentoring and coaching as well as offering more formal programmes.

We’ve got a great foundation to build on. We currently deliver DAIRYCRAFT in partnership with the Primary Industry Training Organisation, providing an 18-month programme for operators at our NZ manufacturing sites and distribution centres to develop relevant technical skills and gain a national qualification. Around 500 employees are enrolled. We also have a refreshed trades apprenticeship programme as well as highly-regarded commercial and technical graduate programmes.

Meanwhile three of our other development programmes were recently recognised at the 2019 NZ HR Awards.

As one of the country’s largest employers, and given our presence in provincial New Zealand, we have an important role to play in helping our communities prepare more fully for the future of work.  

We’ll continue to step up our efforts in building the right capabilities, adopting the right tools and working together with other businesses and stakeholders with the aim of seeing Aotearoa New Zealand thrive at home and on the world stage. 

Deborah Capill is Fonterra's Managing Director People & Culture.