Auckland Plan set to hit bold targets with support of workforce development

With New Zealand experiencing a good rate of economic growth at the end of last year (0.8% growth in the last three months) Auckland is looking optimistic for further growth and business confidence in 2015.

As a part of Auckland’s Plan, delivered by the Auckland Council, “bold targets” have been set to contribute towards New Zealand’s ambitious aspiration to achieve parity with Australia in terms of GDP per capita over 15 years.

“Auckland expects that its economic growth will be transformational, inclusive and equitable; built on innovation, a green economy and a business-friendly attitude,” the report states.

The report says that to achieve economic targets requires a fundamental structural change in Auckland’s economy.

“Auckland is still primarily an inwardly-focused city, with an economy driven by consumption, real estate, and domestically-focused services. Although New Zealand has experienced a period of high economic prosperity over the last 15 years, largely driven by the primary sector, Auckland has not established itself as a centre of excellence or innovation regarding the development of export products.

“Growing new markets, such as in the Asia-Pacific region, provide a ready outlet, because New Zealand does not compete directly with those economies. We must improve our labour and capital productivity significantly, through growth in skills, labour market participation, innovation, and access to capital.”  The Auckland Plan, Auckland Council.

To reach the above targets, Auckland has developed five priorities, all in which workforce development has a fundamental role.

1.   Grow a business-friendly and well-functioning city.

The plan has placed great emphasis on changing the attitudes and environments for business, with a focus on increasing productivity throughout Auckland.  Workforce development can contribute to developing strategies underpinning outcomes set out in the plan, which includes mentoring programs, business networking, capability development, business advice and assistance.

2.   Develop an Innovation Hub of the Asia-Pacific Rim.

Part of workforce development strategy needing to be implemented includes incentivising tertiary transitions and enticing younger, innovative generations to remain in Auckland, as opposed to leaving the district.

Better physical infrastructure and collaborative environments such as technology parks, co-working spaces, and incubators will improve Auckland’s ability to compete on a global scale with recognition for excellence in being an innovation hub.

Workforce development can be incorporated into strategies by bridging gaps between skilled workers and talent coming out of universities and other educational institutions, and start-ups and SME’s.  This can be done through better internal marketing strategies of Auckland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and start-up culture.

3.   Become internationally connected and export-driven.

Currently Auckland has a small domestic market, therefore international connectivity is critical to Auckland’s developing economy.  The Auckland Plan report states this will be achieved through internationalising firms’ activities, earning export income, attracting skilled migrants to Auckland, and improving Auckland’s global connections.

“To create the economic step change, we will strengthen the international connections between Auckland and other international cities to improve trade and investment ties,” the report states.

Workforce development can actively work on developing and connecting global networks with Auckland, and develop a marketing plan to showcase Auckland’s liveability and opportunities for career growth.

4.   Enhance investment in people, to grow skills, and a local workforce.

An additional 276,700 jobs will be needed in Auckland by 2041.  In a report released by a committee of both private and public organisations – A Career Capable Auckland- Building a Skilled Workforce – it outlined the need to develop skilled workers, highlighting a crucial role for workforce development as a part of Auckland’s strategic growth plan.

The report suggests a “successful Auckland” needs people to be highly competent, flexible and career capable.  It highlighted the need for a city where young people and their families are provided with high quality skills, training and career development information and support.

Collaboration, a focus on enhancing human potential and capability and strong links between business and education were outlined as being fundamental strategies in developing the local workforce.

5.   Develop a creative, vibrant international city

Auckland already boasts beautiful physical landscapes such as volcanoes, mountainous terrain and a liveable, sports-loving area.  “Diverse, vibrant, beautiful cities are more likely to attract innovative, skilled people and investment, and benefit residents and visitors alike,” the report states.

Developing workforce strategies for the Tourism industry in Auckland would be beneficial.  By ensuring there is strong talent and capabilities held in tourism-related roles, along with collaboration with the government, the outcomes and benefits of developing a creative and vibrant international city can be projected to the world, encouraging more international talent and development.

Workforce BluePrint are trained professionals in workforce development with an outstanding project record.  If you would like to start the conversation with one of our members on how you can fulfil bold economic targets through effective workforce development, speak to Wendy at

April, 2015.


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