Lifelong Learning and Employment through PiPI

06 May 2021

Pathways into Primary Industries (PiPI) is a project led by Primary ITO, funded through the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) COVID-19 Workforce Development Councils and Transitional Industry Training Organisations Response Project Fund.

PiPI aims to create a clear and concise learner pathway between school, lifelong learning, and employment, capturing career changers into the primary industries and supporting the COVID-19 industry recovery pathways.

Primary ITO has developed a framework with workstreams which will ease some of the requirements to get into the industry and make it easier for people to not just secure jobs in the primary industries industry, but to attain lifelong careers and learning.

It is expected that because of PiPI, the industry will have fewer barriers to entry, and higher retention rates leading to greater numbers of New Zealanders in sustained employment and training.

PiPI is a three-phase project, and the report from the first phase – ideation – is available now.

Work during Phase 1 of the project centred on empathising with partners and undertaking research and observation and field studies – watching, engaging, and listening to employers and learners with a Covid-19 recovery lens.

To contribute to this, we ran ideation workshops and met with a diverse range of stakeholders to consider the workstreams and ensure that the areas of the most importance are identified. The questions structuring the conversations were:

  • Are the seven workstreams we have identified the right ones?
  • What are we missing?
  • If you were to prioritise these workstreams, what would that look like?
  • What would be needed to make this happen?
  • What do you know of that is currently happening, or has been tried in the past, and did it work/ not work?

As well as workshops and field studies, the Primary ITO team were engaged in other project groups which have synergies with the workstreams and intentions of PiPI.

Findings from phase one

The interviews and workshops undertaken during the work in Phase 1 have largely validated the workstreams outlined in the scoping document and discussion paper but have provided more specificity about the areas where PiPI would provide the greatest positive impact on the primary sector, as well as placing greater emphasis on specific aspects of some workstreams. The interviewees that we talked to proposed broadly categorising the seven workstreams into three categories:

  1. Pre-employment (incorporating familiarisation, short critical skills courses and passport/ badging workstreams)
  2. Transitioning into employment (incorporating new entrant employee experience)
  3. In employment (incorporating the employer experience/obligations and lifelong learning and employment)

The structure of these workstreams is consistent with the draft unified funding system in development by TEC, NZQA and the Ministry of Education.

The ‘good news stories’ workstream was mentioned variously as a valuable component of a communications strategy underpinning the entire project, but was not identified as a standalone workstream.

It was variously suggested that the seventh workstream, lifelong learning and employment, was an outcome – the ‘end goal’ of PiPI – rather than part of the process. This suggestion notwithstanding, it is important to articulate lifelong learning and employment as a concerted workstream: it ensures that the learner is at the centre of the project, and is a link to the employer expectations workstream of PiPI.

These potential outputs are discussed in the Discussion section of this report.

Interviewees identified proposed workstreams that they felt would be valuable, with some suggested expansion of the workstreams. Generally, the three most valuable workstreams were identified as:

  1. Workstream 3: The Primary Industries Passport Badging System;
  2. Workstream 4: New entrant trainee experience, and
  3. Workstream 5: Employer Experience and Employer Obligations.


The stakeholders also contributed their thoughts on opportunities that while out of scope of this initial project, feed into the wider landscape of transitioning people into lifelong learning and careers in the food and fibre sector.

Phase Two

Phase one of PiPI identified the areas of greatest need regarding employment and capability lift across the primary sector through collaboration with industry and businesses.

Phase two will further research the three areas of greatest need as identified in phase one, in order to provide quality recommendations of outputs that will give industry, business and learners the confidence in the training and training pathways that will best support the skill needs of industry in a Covid-19 response environment.

Research methods will include but not be limited to: first-hand observation, interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, participant observation, workshops, telephone surveys, and literature surveys.

Phase one consisted of ideation workshops and meetings with a wide range of stakeholders representing various interests across the primary sector (meeting schedule was provided with scoping document as per phase one).

PiPI has now been socialised with many organisations and industry groups and providers across the primary sector.

By continuing to work with industry in phase two, we can ensure that the direction and intent of PiPI is a whole industry approach, and that the commonalities of Covid-19 recovery experiences are supported at both an industry and regional level.

As part of the detailed research of phase two, we will work with providers and industry on how to implement alternative arrangement for apprentices and trainees who have lost jobs, as well as new to industry learners who are seeking new career opportunities because of Covid-19 related redundancies.

We will work with providers to design learner pathways that are supported by industry to support the likely recovery paths of industries. We know that with a view to the finalisation of the Reform of Vocational Education that this process needs to be future focussed. With a greater understanding of the impacts of Covid-19 on the capability of the primary sector workforce, we can ensure that these pathways are future proofed, fit for purpose and connected to other initiatives across the industry.

This process will provide clear priorities to inform the TEC’s investments in education and training for the food and fibre sector, and will provide information to WDC’s to support their advice to the TEC.

You can read the entire report on the Primary ITO website. For any questions you can contact the PiPI team on

Written by:
Eve Williams
PiPI Project Lead




Forgot password?
Create an Account