Chief executive appointed to lead new NZ Institute of Skills and Technology

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Inaugural New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology chief executive Stephen Town.

Stephen Town has been named as the inaugural chief executive of the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (working name).

Currently in his final year leading the Auckland Council, Town will formally take up his new role on July 6, 2020.

IST Establishment Board chair Barry Jordan says the Board is delighted to have attracted a candidate of Town’s high calibre after an extensive search for the right person to lead the creation of the new national Institute, which is due to come into effect on April 1, 2020.

“With more than 25 years as a chief executive, including a distinguished career in the local government sector, Stephen has a proven track record of bringing people together through periods of complex change,” Jordan says.

“He has led initiatives to create jobs for long-term unemployed in South Auckland and built enduring relationships with iwi and hapu.

“We were looking for someone who is a strong relationship builder with deep strategic experience successfully leading large and complex organisations to achieve significant improvement.

Jordan says the panel was impressed with Town’s composed and strategic focus, his ability to form enduring and productive relationships with stakeholders, and his long-term connection to the tertiary sector where his leadership journey began.

A graduate of Whanganui Regional Community Polytechnic, Town has maintained a deep interest in vocational education.

He has two sons in the BCITO system who will both qualify as carpenters this year.

“I’m honoured to take up this role and excited at the challenges ahead. Change leadership is our greatest opportunity, and New Zealand’s needs will require much greater agility from the vocational education and training sector in the next two decades,” Town says.

“Before us is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a sustainable and world-class vocational education system that strengthens communities and, ultimately, New Zealand.

“I am looking forward to working collaboratively with everyone in the sector to effect meaningful and lasting change.”