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About Us

The ITF is governed by a Council of its members, representing all of New Zealand's recognised Industry Training Organisations, with an Independent Chair.

Executive Committee

Professor Pat Walsh, Independent Chair

Emeritus Professor Walsh is the former Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University. Professor Walsh has had a distinguished academic career focussing on industrial relations and labour markets.

Dr Grant Davidson, Deputy Chair

Grant is currently Chief Executive of Skills Active Aotearoa (the ITO for sport, fitness, recreation and snowsports). He has been in CE roles for the past 20 years, coming from the education and outdoors sector. He has been instrumental in the development of outdoor training and qualification systems and was the initiator of the New Zealand Outdoor Instructor Association – holding top level awards in a number of disciplines. Grant has been active in governance roles in a number of key outdoor organisations in New Zealand and is firmly committed to furthering professionalism in the sport and recreation sectors.  Grant has a PhD in risk management from the School of Management at Waikato University and is considered an international expert in this field. He is also a member of the Institute of Directors with a strong interest in governance effectiveness. He lives to serve his wife, three children and border collie.

Garry Fissenden, The Skills Organisation

Garry Fissenden is the Chief Executive of The Skills Organisation, which covers 21 industries including Electrical, Plumbing, State Sector, Local Government, Financial Services, Contact Centre, Real Estate, Security and others. Garry has had a breadth of General Manager experience, mainly in financial services in both Australia and NZ for ASB Bank, Esanda Finance and UFC Finance.

Kay Nelson, HITO

Kay is the Chief Executive of HITO, the ITO for hairdressing, beauty therapy, and barbering. Kay has held CE and Senior Management roles in the Hospitality, Not for Profit, and Education sectors.

A passionate advocate for education, Kay has contributed her expertise nationally and internationally - from the 2011 Rugby World Cup Steering Group to ministerial Delegations to China, to setting up New Zealand’s first Centre of Excellence in Hospitality based on the UK model, to setting up a regional advisory group for Maori Youth Employment, Education and Support, to advising on educational change to the Raratongan Government.

Kay has an MBA and Post Graduate Diploma in Business from Massey University, as well as undergraduate qualifications in teaching and hospitality management.

The ITF Team

Josh Williams, Chief Executive Officer

Josh has worked in the Education Sector for 18 years, focussed on skills, qualifications, and quality assurance issues in the schooling and tertiary sectors. Prior to rejoining the ITF he was Senior Policy Manager in Tertiary Policy at the Ministry of Education, leading policy for vocational and foundational education, and secondary-tertiary transitions.

Josh was programme manager for the implementation of Youth Guarantee initiatives, and led the development of Vocational Pathways, recognised as an example of successful government and industry partnerships.  He was formerly Principal Policy Advisor at the Industry Training Federation, a Senior Policy Analyst at NZQA, and Private Secretary to Ministers of Education.

Josh holds a Bachelor of Arts (Humanities) degree from Massey University and is a member of the Institute of Directors.

You can contact Josh on:

Michael Ross, Principal Advocacy Advisor

As Principal Advocacy Advisor at the ITF, Michael's role is to advocate for the interests of the industry training sector and ITOs by providing advice on policy and sector performance issues. He has a Masters degree in Political Science from the University of Canterbury. Michael started his career as a policy analyst at the Ministry of Economic Development before joining the Ministry of Education where he worked in tertiary education policy, as an advisor in the Secretary for Education’s office, and most recently as part of the central Budget Strategy and Coordination team.

You can contact Michael on:

Wendy Dykstra, Finance and Payroll Manager

Wendy has worked part time for the ITF since October 2011, with her role being finances and payroll.  She works part time for two companies in a finance, reporting qualifications and payroll capacity.

You can contact Wendy on:

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Sue Bull, Office Manager

Sue is the ITF Office Manager, and doubles as Josh's Executive Assistant. Sue has been engaged in contract work in and around Wellington for the past 8 years, and has a passion for event administration. She works Tuesday to Thursday allowing three days to exercise, scrapbook and spend time with her family.

You can contact Sue on:


Skills Highway Team

Nicky Murray, Programme Manager

Nicky is the Programme Manager for the Skills Highway workplace literacy and numeracy programme. She has been involved in industry training, workplace learning, and adult literacy and numeracy for a number of years. Nicky is a strong proponent of lifelong learning, having begun her under- and post-graduate studies later in life. Her doctorate thesis, entitled 'Who gets their hands 'dirty' in the Knowledge Society? Training for the skilled trades in New Zealand’ is a jolly good read. She is the mother of dragons (three delightful adult daughters) and in her spare time enjoys sitting quietly.

You can contact Nicky on:

Anne Alkema, Research Manager

Anne is the Research Manager who possesses an abundance of knowledge having worked in education as a teacher, public servant, and for the last 10 years as a researcher and evaluator. Anne holds a Master of Education degree, her main area of work is in adult literacy and numeracy where her focus has been on the economic and social impact of New Zealand government policies and the extent to which these policy settings are working for target groups and industries. As an adjunct to this work, she has also helped to develop frameworks of good practice for embedding literacy and numeracy into education and training programmes in tertiary education settings and workplaces.

You can contact Anne on: