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Board Talk

Being a NZOIA Board Member is a voluntary role. Board Members volunteer their time in the interests of the sector and NZOIA members. Check out what they are doing on behalf of NZOIA members below:


Board Talk - August 2018 

The last few Board meetings we have been making good progress on a review of NZOIA’s strategic positioning.  There are three headings, each led by an elected Board member – membership and advocacy (Matt Barker), qualifications and standards (Jo Thompson) and operational excellence (Ben Corcoran).  A key element is the relationship between NZOIA and Skills Active qualifications.  While it has taken a long time, as the SA qualifications suite evolves we are seeing how the two organisations can complement each other for the benefit of the outdoor sector. 
Skills Active provides an apprenticeship-style in-house qualification process to achieve a NZ Certificate - a government accredited national standard qualification.  NZOIA assessments provide a practical and time efficient pathway for individuals and workplaces to become qualified through an external assessment process. This is of particular value for individuals who are not in permanent employment or who work for employers that do not have the internal capacity to operate the apprenticeship model.  Some larger employers value external assessment of their staff in preference to running an in-house process.  The NZOIA model also provides a practical assessment add-on to tertiary qualifications and the support of belonging to a professional association. 
Alignment with Skills Active will enable NZOIA delivery of an accredited national standard qualification alongside the NZOIA award.  The Board considers this will add value for NZOIA members in an increasingly regulated operating environment, and will enhance the possibilities for international recognition/transferability.
A key issue we are currently addressing with SA is the cost, particularly in staff time, in the alignment process.  SA make a financial contribution to NZOIA recognising our support for the development of outdoor leadership qualifications, but at the current level it is less than the cost to the Association.  
Other agenda topics included discussion and reporting back on:

Finances – there will be a small operating surplus on routine operations in the 2017/18 year, but a deficit after project work is added in.  This was budgeted for – using some cash reserves to pursue one off projects such as the SA qualifications alignment, new mountain bike awards and membership growth projects.   The Board also approved the 2018/19 budget.

Health and safety – one safety question raised at an assessment is being considered by the TSC.

Sector liaison and membership growth project – Cam Walker and Ashley Cheeseman have done some great work to increase awareness of NZOIA and NZOIA qualifications in the Queenstown-Lakes region and the Central North Island respectively.  Sonya has been pursuing additional member benefits (check out

NZRA executive support – roll over of the agreement for support from the NZRA Chief Executive, Deb Hurdle and other NZRA staff as needed.  This provides a very cost-effective executive support arrangement for NZOIA.

2017/18 Business Plan – numbers and satisfaction levels (over 95%) with assessments, courses and Symposium attendance all met or exceeded targets – well done to the office team and NZOIA assessors.  The main concern is the continued high level of non-renewal of NZOIA membership.  While NZOIA’s total membership grew, 21.5% (235 out of 1092 members) didn’t renew – slightly more non-renewals than previous years.  Some of this is tertiary students who get free membership when they sit NZOIA qualifications, but don’t move into employment in the sector.  While some drop-off is inevitable, the Board would like to see this level reduced, and is hoping the work Sonya is doing on membership benefits will have a positive influence.

Feedback from the member survey.  The Board was pleased to see the generally high level of satisfaction of respondents - over 80% satisfaction in most areas.  In particular it is great to see recognition of the support that the NZOIA staff provide. (eg 99% satisfaction with staff communication).  A number of actions are underway in areas where there were lower satisfaction levels and/or useful comments on what can be improved.  It was also pleasing to see 91% satisfaction with the governance of the NZOIA Board.  For those who would like to see changes, the Board member contacts are all listed on the website and we welcome constructive suggestions.  There is also a session with the Board during the Symposium, and of course the AGM – so come along and have your say, or put yourself up for Board nomination. 

Gill Wratt - Chair

March 2018  |  Board Talk

The Board met in Nelson in late March.  Agenda topics included discussion and reporting back on several initiatives the Board and staff have been working on in recent months, and other ongoing operational matters that staff were seeking feedback on or that needed Board sign off:

Strategic priorities and Strategic Plan revision – being led by Ben Corcoran

Mountain bike qualifications – Dave Mangnall course director for a first joint assessment with Skills Active in Rotorua on 30 April – 2 May.

Membership growth – Ashley Cheeseman and Cam Walker are underway on their membership advocacy roles in the central North Island and the Queenstown Lakes areas respectively, and Sonya is making good progress on new membership benefits

SUP quals – process with SUP NZ underway

Advocacy – exploring the possibility of NZOIA presentations at the physical educators conference (PENZ – Jo  Thompson/Matt Barker) and the Tourism Industry Summit (Cam Walker/Noel Saxon)

Qualification revalidation – tasked the NZOIA Technical Sub Committee (TSC) with considering additional flexibility for those needing to put their qualifications on hold

TSC membership – agreed to expand to 3 members

Business plan and financial reports and draft budget for 2018/19

Gill Wratt (Chair)

December 2017  |  Board Talk

The key topic on the agenda for the last Board meeting of the year, held on 1 December in Nelson, was membership growth and member support.  Sonya updated the Board on the work she has been doing  with the Board Advocacy and Membership Portfolio holders Cam, Matt and Noel on additional benefits that NZOIA could be offering members and initiatives to increase NZOIA’s membership.  We now have four organisations that have taken up NZOIA Affiliated membership and are receiving enquiries from others.
We considered a proposal from the NZ stand up paddle boarding organisation (NZSUP) to work with them to develop NZOIA SUP qualifications.  There are about 150 registered SUP instructors and 50 commercial SUP schools in NZ.  NZSUP are keen to offer a more rigorous instructor assessment process than they currently have, and see the NZOIA model as being able to provide that.  The Board decided to move forward with this, subject to NZSUP finding/providing funding to cover the costs. 
There was also a proposal from NZOIA member Toine Houtenbos for connecting with the international canyoning organisation ICOPro and developing an RCC process with them.  Toine will be working on this with support as needed from Penny and the NZOIA office.
Alignment between NZOIA and NZ Certificate outdoor recreation qualifications was again on the Board agenda, with Gill, Penny and Deb reporting on a meeting the previous day with Grant Davidson (SA CEO) and Maren Frerichs (SA General Manager Industry Engagement).  Penny and Deb are meeting again with Maren, before Xmas to finalise the process for a joint SA/NZOIA mountain bike assessment in March/April next year. 
So lots on the agenda, plus the regular financials, health and safety, business plan update, and TSC update.
Best wishes to you all from the Board for Xmas and New Year, and some great outdoor adventures.

Gill Wratt (Chair)     

November 2017   |    Board Talk

Following another excellent NZOIA Symposium at Rotoiti Lodge, the Board met in Nelson in mid October.  A key focus for the meeting was the alignment between NZOIA and NZ Certificate outdoor recreation qualifications – as discussed at the Symposium session with the Board.  We invited Skills Active CEO Grant Davidson and Industry Engagement GM Maren Frerichs for this topic, and had a constructive discussion with them, in particular around the new “Core” requirements for the NZ Certificate qualifications.  Working with SA on how the broader range of safety and management aspects of the Core can be aligned with the NZOIA awards and assessment processes will be a priority over the next few months.

Another key strategic initiative is membership growth.  Sonya is working with the Board Advocacy & Membership portfolio holders – Cam Walker, Matt Barker and Noel Saxon, on a number of initiatives including membership retention, member benefits, Affiliated and Associate memberships, and profiling in the adventure tourism, education and community sectors.

Following member feedback at the AGM, there have been some suggestions come forward on rewording the statement in the NZOIA Code of Ethical Practice on working in scope.  Jo Thompson will look further at these.  We will also be reminding members of what is in the CoEP.

Other agenda items were the regular financials, health and safety, business plan update, and TSC update. 

Gill Wratt - Chair



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