Introducing Waihanga Ara Rau


Waihanga Ara Rau (Construction and Infrastructure) Workforce Development Council is one of six Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) set up under the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) to give industries greater leadership and influence across vocational education. 

Waihanga Ara Rau represents 10 diverse industries – civil infrastructure; construction; construction and infrastructure services; access trades; electrical, electronic, engineering and electrotechnology; finishing trades; waters; masonry; plumbing, drainlaying and gasfitting; and energy and telecommunications. 

The industry-led organisation has been established to develop and maintain a strategic view of the skills the construction and infrastructure industries require now, and in the future, and has a key focus on giving a stronger voice to Māori enterprise and iwi businesses. This mahi will ensure learners and communities can fulfil their potential and employers have the right people, with the right skills, at the right time. 

Chief Executive Philip Aldridge joined Waihanga Ara Rau after a successful tenure as the Executive Director of the Health Association of NZ. Having led initiatives to improve the Canterbury Rebuild’s labour supply, in conjunction with the infrastructure and construction industry, education providers and Government agencies, Phil understands the challenges and opportunities involved with transformational programmes of work involving many different Tangata Whai Mana (stakeholders). 

Phil has a strong passion and vision for Waihanga Ara Rau and has rapidly recruited a motivated team to help move the organisation from an establishment start-up phase to full operation in a short space of time. 

Key to Waihanga Ara Rau’s mahi is turning industry challenges into opportunities and helping its Tangata Whai Mana to innovate exciting and sustainable solutions. This commitment is exemplified by the recent launch of two key research reports – the Re-energise – Ngā Mahi a Maui Workforce Development Strategy for the Electricity Supply Industry and the Ko Wai Tātou – We are Water Workforce Development Strategy

Both workforce development strategies are now in the project implementation stage as Waihanga Ara Rau and its partners look at how to realise the actionable recommendations in each report. As there are common strategic goals that have shaped both workforce development strategies – which are also directing Waihanga Ara Rau’s ongoing work – both workstreams will be progressed at the same time. 

The project plan for both strategies will involve: 

  • Increasing visibility to attract the right people to the industry 
  • Designing for intuitive career pathways 
  • Building a resilient workforce 

In the spirit of collaboration, which goes right to the heart of the WDCs and the wider vocational education and training system, Waihanga Ara Rau has also recently announced partnerships with both ConCOVE Tūhura and Independent Tertiary Education New Zealand (ITENZ) through Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs). 

Through the MoUs, each party will contribute its knowledge and expertise to promote a cooperative working relationship and to realise key mutual goals including identifying regional skills needs, sharing data and insights, partnering on projects, carrying out shared engagement activities and educating industry about emerging trends and insights. The intent is to support a thriving construction and infrastructure workforce. 

For more information about Waihanga Ara Rau and to keep an eye on progress, visit

Thank you to all our sponsors for their generous support

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