About us

Purpose of Workforce Development Councils

Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) ensure the vocational education system meets industry needs and gives a stronger voice to Māori business and iwi development. We provide industries and employers with greater leadership and influence across vocational education.

Success for us means employers, including Māori business owners, are confident that vocational education graduates are ready for work and that the vocational education system addresses the future skills needs of their industry.

As well as directly benefiting employers, we improve confidence and outcomes across the sector. Providers can be confident their programmes are relevant to employers and endorsed by industry. Learners can be confident their qualifications meet employers' expectations and national industry standards.

Industries we represent

Waihanga Ara Rau (Construction & Infrastructure) Workforce Development Council represents a diverse range of industries.

Industries Waihanga Ara Rau represents


What we do

We work with industry and employers to understand the skills that are needed. We share this information with education and training providers, who create learning programmes that give people relevant skills to address future workforce needs.

We lead the development of industry qualifications, set industry standards and assess training provision against these industry standards. Where appropriate, we set and help with capstone assessments at the end of a qualification. We help ensure industry standards are applied consistently across the country and all modes of learning, whether on the job, on campus or online.

We also endorse vocational education programmes before NZQA approves them.

Who we work with

As well as engaging with industry and employers, we work collaboratively across the vocational education sector. We engage with Regional Skills Leadership Groups (RSLGs), the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) and providers (Te Pūkenga, Wānanga and Private Training Establishments (PTEs)).

We also engage with various parties to help inform and prioritise their service delivery. These include the Ministry of Education (MoE), advocacy groups, learners, Te Taumata Aronui, government agencies and schools.

Our brand

Our logo is a taura whiri, a plaited rope. The taura whiri, plaited rope, has been used as a metaphor by kaiwhaikōrero (orators) to connect whānau groups through a shared ancestor and to acknowledge a leader's ability to bring people together. It has been applied to various situations where elements come together in unity. The taura/rope is made by plaiting aho (strands) made from rolled muka (scraped flax strands). Creating a stronger taura (rope) than the aho could on their own.

The green of our brand references the forest's foliage and relates to Māori culture and the connection between people and nature.  The Ngahere, our forests, were the source of materials needed for construction, particularly trees, such as nikau, for their foliage and ponga and use of timber.

Who we are 

Our Council 

Elena Trout, Co-Chair 

Elena Trout - Co-Chair Waihanga Ara Rau

Elena Trout was appointed the Chair of the interim establishment board for the Construction and Infrastructure Workforce Development Council. She is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Directors and is a seasoned professional director. She holds an extensive portfolio of governance roles which includes being a director of Ara Ake Ltd, Callaghan Innovation, Ngāpuhi Asset Holding Company, Contact Energy, Harrison Grierson, Citycare Ltd and is the Chair of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. She is also an external member of the Ministry of Defence/ NZ Defence Capability Governance Board.

Elena is a professional engineer and has significant experience in the development and delivery of large programmes notably in the infrastructure, transport and energy sectors and acts as an advisor to central and local government on a variety of major infrastructure projects. Elena is also actively involved with professional associations for engineers, is a Past President and a Distinguished Fellow of Engineering New Zealand.

John Chapman, Co-Chair 

John Chapman - Co-Chair 

John Chapman, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Te Whakatōhea,Te Whānau Apanui, is the owner and director of KAEA. This organisation provides and delivers programmes for Kāinga Ora, Māori Pacific Trades Training, and various other community and whānau development organisations. He has previously held several other senior positions focusing on education and youth development with organisations including VisionWest Community Trust Education and Training Centre and Wellington City Mission. 

John was previously a member of the interim establishment board for the Construction and Infrastructure Workforce Development Council. He also holds governance roles with several other organisations including Māori Pacific Trades Training Auckland and HHR Trust Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Bill Newson

Bill Newson 

Bill Newson is the National Secretary of E Tū, New Zealand's largest private sector union, representing people working in various industries including construction and infrastructure. He has been involved in unions for almost forty years and is a member of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions National Affiliates Council. 

Bill was previously a member of the interim establishment board for the Construction and Infrastructure Workforce Development Council. He also holds a number of governance roles including being a member of the board of WorkSafe, Mates in Construction (suicide prevention) and has been co-lead of the Workforce Development Workstream for the Construction Accord. 

Brendon Green 

Brendon Green, Ngāti Hikairo, Ngāpuhi, is an experienced director with a portfolio that has focused on energy, climate change, asset management, and engaging with the Māori economy and Māori communities. He is currently on the board of Watercare, HIRINGA Energy Ltd and Waikato District Council's Infrastructure Committee. 

Brendon was previously chair of Tirohia Landfill Joint Venture and Tainui Kāwhia Incorporation as well as being a member of Te Whakakitenga o Waikato, Waikato Tainui's governing body. He has held several executive positions in energy companies in New Zealand and North America with companies including Wattstock LLC, Mercury Energy, General Electric and Contact Energy. 

Chantelle Bailey

 Chantelle Bailey

Chantelle Bailey, Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hāmoa (Lotofaga and Le'auva'a) is a Lead Structural Engineer for Aurecon. She has more than 25 years of experience in engineering with a focus on structural and aircraft engineering in roles with GHD, OPUS and the Royal New Zealand Air Force.  

Chantelle is on the Te Ao Rangahau Māori Advisory Panel, previously serving as a trustee on the Engineering New Zealand Foundation and board member of the Manawatū Branch of the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand. She is passionate about using the experience and knowledge that she has developed to influence change and inspire others for the future of our rangatahi and tauira mahi. Having worked across different boards, she has developed strong leadership and kaitiakitanga skills. Chantelle will bring to the table a totality of experience and insight not only as an engineer and experienced government practitioner, but as a woman, mother and wife.

Daniel Haines 

Daniel Haines 

Daniel Haines (Te Rarawa) is the Head of Māori Outcomes for Eke Panuku Development Auckland. Recent employment includes Māori engagement and Treaty settlement work with Wynyard Edge Alliance and Auckland Council. He also was the elected president of the Auckland University Students' Association and the New Zealand Union of Students' Associations. 

Daniel is a board member of Academic Quality Agency, which provide external quality assurance for all New Zealand Universities, and ActionStation, an independent, crowdfunded, community campaigning organisation. His previous governance and advisory roles include the Public Service Association, Unitec's Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina, Student Job Search, and the University of Auckland. Daniel has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Auckland. 

Jan O'Neill

Jan O’Neill  

Jan is the Executive General Manager of People & Culture at Downer New Zealand. With over 30 years of experience, Jan has worked at the most senior level in large complex New Zealand organisations. Jan was previously a member of the interim establishment board for the Construction and Infrastructure Workforce Development Council. 

Jan's areas of speciality include executive leadership, HR strategy, organisational development, culture development, and change management. Jan has a strong understanding of the education system, in particular vocational education. Under Jan's leadership at Downer NZ, highly successful programmes have been developed for Māori school leavers and to provide pre-employment training and entry into the infrastructure industry. Furthermore, Jan's strong partnerships with both Te Puni Kōkiri and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) have helped with delivering effective employment and training programmes. Jan was a member of the WDC (CIWDC) Working Group since it was established in late 2019. 

Kieren Mallon 

Kieren Mallon is the managing director of three construction businesses – Meridian Construction, MF Group (joinery and panelling), and LoftHQ (architectural products). He has more than thirty years of experience in the construction sector, starting out as a joinery apprentice before becoming a tradesman and then a business owner. 

Kieren continues his involvement in the construction sector through roles as a Director, board member for New Zealand Registered Master Builders Association, and the Chair of BRANZ's Building Research and Advisory Council. He was previously Director of BCITO, President and life member of Auckland Registered Master Builders and has been on several construction industry advisory groups for Auckland Council, Site Safe, and ACC. 

Tracy Davis

Tracy Davis, Ngāti Whatua, is Deputy Chair for Ngā Maunga Whakahii o Kaipara, the post-settlement governance entity for Ngāti Whatua o Kaipara. He holds a number of other governance and advisory roles relating to infrastructure including the National Māori Advisory Panel for the restructure of 3 Waters. Tracy is also Chair of the Iwi Advisor Panel of Hōkai Nuku, who negotiate Mana Whenua and Māori procurement and training opportunities on Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Projects in Auckland. 

Tracy previously spent more than twenty years working in the construction industry, first as a glazier and then starting a business which went on to become the largest shower installation company in New Zealand. 

Our leadership team 

Philip Aldridge, Chief Executive 

Philip Aldridge, Chief Executive 

With an extensive background in commercial enterprises, NGOs, and government organisations, Philip joined Waihanga Ara Rau after a successful tenure as the Executive Director of the Health Association of NZ. Prior to that Philip held leadership roles with Agriculture ITO, Infratrain New Zealand, Telecom NZ and Superu (Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit).

Having led initiatives to improve the Canterbury Rebuild's labour supply, in conjunction with the infrastructure and construction industry, education providers and Government agencies, Philip understands the challenges and opportunities involved with transformational programmes of work involving many different Tangata Whai Mana (stakeholders). Philip has a strong passion and vision for Waihanga Ara Rau and has rapidly recruited a motivated team to help move the organisation from the establishment start-up phase to full operation in a short space of time.  


Robbie Paul, Poumatua

Robbie Paul, Poumatua

Robbie Paul, Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongomaiwahine, has 15 years of expertise in regional and national roles within Infrastructure Industry Training Organisations (ITOs). He was instrumental in the development of Te Poutama Kaiahumahi, and a founding member of Te Rautaki Whakaroopu Māori. Robbie was also involved in a number of projects with the Ministry of Health in the Far North and supported local iwi participation in major roading contracts. Robbie was previously General Manager at Māori-owned Te Aratika Industry Training Ltd.

Catriona PetrieGeneral Manager Qualifications System Product  

Catriona Petrie, General Manager Qualifications System Product  

Catriona Petrie is an industry training specialist with a passion for the benefits of vocational learning and the transformative power of education for ākonga, whānau, community and industry.  

She has extensive experience successfully translating industry needs into frameworks and learning experiences that enable ākonga and has led the development of qualifications and learning programmes for several industries, including the building and construction, community and social services, and primary sectors. 

In her most recent role leading the Qualifications and Learning Design team at the BCITO, Catriona has led the introduction of digital learning and the piloting of micro-credentials for the building and construction sector. 

Mark Williams, General Manager Strategy and Insights 

Mark Williams, General Manager Strategy and Insights

Mark Williams has 25 years of experience in the vocational education sector. For the past six years, he has been Insight and Innovation Manager at BCITO. Mark has led projects focused on increasing the participation and success of Women in Trades, investigating the return on investment from training and analysing industry training penetration.  

Mark is currently expanding work undertaken in Otago to forecast the national construction and infrastructure workforce. His team is working within the regions to identify issues and opportunities to forecast what having the right people in the right place, with the right skills, at the right time, looks like.  

Mike Grumball, General Manager Assurance  

Mike Grumball, General Manager Assurance  

Mike Grumball has a plethora of experience within the education sector, having started his journey at the Southern Institute of Technology back in 1995. He moved to Wellington in 2015 to start a new journey within the Industry Training Organisation sector. His latest role was as GM Learning Solutions for Connexis. 

Mike has an extensive background across the educational sector with strong senior management and leadership experience. He looks forward to being involved in the setting up of the Waihanga Ara Rau Workforce Development Council.   

Garyth Arago-Kemp, General Manager Māori

Garyth Arago-Kemp, Ngāti Porou, Ngai Te Rangi, joins us after an impressive career at BCITO where he has successfully led a number of projects that have reduced barriers and improved Māori success rates. Garyth's influence at BCITO included a successful collaboration with Hamilton's Ngā Taiātea Wharekura to introduce Te Reo Māori translation unit standards.

Garyth is passionate about trade qualifications, and the skills implemented within the qualifications themselves to ensure they are fit for purpose.  

Michelle Menken, Corporate Services and Planning Manager

Michelle Menken provides operational oversight of the corporate and shared services for Waihanga Ara Rau, leading the strategic business planning and budgeting cycle, corporate reporting, communications, risk & compliance, and governance support.

Michelle brings a wealth of experience from previous roles in New Zealand public sector organisations where she provided support to executives to effectively lead their functions and achieve strategic priorities. Michelle's previous role was strategic advisor to the Chief Risk and Actuarial Officer at ACC.

Our Industry Engagement Team

How our Workforce Development Council was established  

Extensive consultation with industry and the vocational education sector took place prior to our WDC being established on 4 October 2021.   

The establishment of WDCs was led by WDC Interim Establishment Boards (iEBs) which were made up of industry representatives, a number of whom were subsequently appointed to the permanent WDC Councils. The main role of iEBs was to oversee the legal establishment of WDCs, which occurred through an Orders in Council (OiC) process.   

Our Order in Council  

The iEB was responsible for consulting with industry and developing an Order in Council (OiC) that outlined the name of our WDC, industries represented, governance arrangements and other core aspects. More than 200 individuals and organisations provided feedback on the draft OiC. This engagement helped ensure our WDC was established in ways that best meet industry needs.  

Once approved by the Minister of Education, OiCs were sent to the Governor-General for signature. On Monday 10 May 2021, Her Excellency the Governor-General Patsy Reddy gave Royal Assent, passing into law OiCs establishing the six WDCs. The legislation came into effect on 11 June 2021.   

Waihanga Ara Rau Construction and Infrastructure (OiC)