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I’ve just come off a Zoom with a bunch of articulate and intelligent students pursuing careers in the screen industry.

It prompted me to write about the ongoing work happening around the reform of vocational education that DEGANZ is engaged in.

Board member and editor Annie Collins has been driving a small group of individuals from some other screen sector organisations, our ongoing engagement with the Workforce Development Council Toi Mai, whose remit includes the screen industry. This group operates under the name of the Interim Screen Training Advisory Roopu or STAR.

At present, the focus of STAR and Toi Mai is on Below-The-Line roles—The crew shortages that occur when there are multiple domestic and international productions happening at the same time are a major issue. We need more people, better trained, so that there is good depth in trained crew and more of them when the need arises.

While Above-The-Line vocational training is also necessary, it’s not a priority at the present time. That will come.

The recent review of the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG), now renamed the NZSP Rebate (NZSPR), also puts emphasis on vocational training with international productions, through the five per cent uplift available. The final criteria for International NZSPR is expected by November.

I emphasised to the students I was talking to, the need for ongoing upskilling of their craft once they get working. For directors and editors, this is available through the extensive professional development programme we offer. However, a lot of the work that STAR is doing with Toi Mai is focused on the content taught at the vocational education providers, before people enter the workforce. That content is tied into qualifications that are certified by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC).

After a bumpy start more than two years ago, STAR (and its previous incarnation) has made some good progress now that Toi Mai is up and running. Toi Mai is doing a great job, and it’s become easier for the industry to feed into vocational education through them.

There’s still a lot more to do and there are many obstacles to overcome. Thankfully, we have strong screen industry experience on the Toi Mai board in Alice Shearman, Rhonda Kite and Victoria Spackman. They provide valuable insight and direction that helps Toi Mai do its work.

The micro-credential that Toi Mai is asking for feedback on (included in this newsletter) was in large part developed by STAR together with Toi Mai, with input from some other entities. It’s the first really visible example of the industry expressing its need and Toi Mai responding. If you could take the time to give your thoughts, it will help us to get that important introductory micro-credential up and running at vocational institutions, and allow us to move on to other important work.


Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director 

Last updated on 14 September 2023