‘E so’o le fau I le fau’ – United in strength and amplifying Pacific Excellence

In a visit with visitors representing qualifications and training authorities across Pacific nations, as part of a tour hosted by NZQA, Muka Tangata Chief Executive Jeremy Baker shared a desire for skills obtained as part of the ‘RSE’ scheme to be recognised when they return home. 

Muka Tangata has a particular area of focus in the Recognised Seasonal Employers (RSE) Scheme operated by the NZ Government. “The RSE scheme enables a partnership between Pacific nations and the New Zealand horticulture sector. The scheme provides seasonal work and income for Pacific workers and essential workers for the peak periods of the NZ horticulture sector.” Jeremy said.  

The RSE scheme has recently been reviewed, and while the results of the review haven’t been released, it is clear that one strong area of focus is on the quality and relevance of the training and skill development opportunities for Pacific workers taking part in the scheme. 

“Muka Tangata are looking to develop a project to improve the recognition that Pacific workers in the scheme obtain for the skills they develop while in New Zealand, empowering those workers to have their skills recognised in a manner that will work for them and their communities when they return home.” Jeremy said.  

NZQA has been funded by the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to lead work on behalf of New Zealand to support the implementation of Pacer Plus, including building stronger systems for the mutual recognition of skills across the Pacific. Muka Tangata would like to use skill recognition as part of the RSE scheme as a practical means to start this process.  

“If we can determine ways of recognising the skills Pacific RSE workers gain while they are in New Zealand in ways that are useful and recognised in their home countries and communities, we see this as a way in which the value of the RSE scheme for Pacific country and worker participants can be strengthened.” 

The Pacific delegation included participants from the Samoa Qualifications Authority, Tonga National Qualifications and Accreditation Board, Vanuatu Qualifications Authority, Solomon Islands Tertiary Education and Skills Authority, the Fiji Higher Education Commission, and the South Pacific Commission’s Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP).