About Us


Workforce Development Ltd helps people develop skills they need for work or future study.  Whether they want to enter the workforce, learn new skills, get back into work or find a new career to be passionate about,  Workforce Development helps them get there.

We’ve been providing opportunities to learn and grow for individuals, communities, businesses and government departments for more than 25 years. We offer a friendly, personalised and supportive service to guide you on your journey into the Kiwi workforce and beyond.





We’re a private training company owned by a trust. We’re a friendly, approachable team dedicated to helping Kiwis develop into successful members of the New Zealand workforce. We began as a small company in Napier in 1992 and have grown into a well-regarded training organisation with campuses in Napier, Hastings and Auckland.




We work with and support a wide range of New Zealanders from young people in school, school leavers, professionals, business owners and government departments. We offer a truly personalised service to foster individual growth and success.


Dr. Aaron Smith

Managing Director

With a diverse background including six years in hospitality, a stint in IT, teaching in NZ and overseas, presenting programmes for the Centre of Continuing Education and the Auckland Domain Museum for many years, a Masters in Archaeology and a PhD in Egyptology, Aaron has a passion for working with communities in Aotearoa and abroad. His dream is to develop and implement fit-for-purpose education programmes which empower learners, grow that which is already within them, and weave this altogether to enable them to achieve their goals and passions. Involved in educational leadership ventures for many years, Aaron was responsible for opening the first school-based Trade Academy under the Youth Guarantee initiative, and has worked on Tertiary Education Needs Strategies. He is also a strong proponent of MIT’s Centre for Multiple Pathways. An alma-mater of the University of Auckland, Aaron also lectured at the university for several years. Aaron served as CEO of Workforce Development from 2012 – 2017 and has been a co-owner of the company since 2017.

Derek Martin

General Manager

Derek has held senior academic and operations management roles in large tertiary educational organisations in New Zealand and Australia for more than 20 years. Prior to that he taught for a decade in New Zealand, England, Korea and South Africa. Fostering a first-class learning environment which enables learners and tutors to thrive while attaining their goals and dreams is what motivates Derek.

His qualifications include an MA (Hons), a Higher Teaching Diploma and a Certificate in Company Direction. His many interests include linguistics, business management, professional communication, surfing and triathlon.

Hemi Wickliffe

Company Kaumātua

I te timatanga ko te kupu
Ko te Atua te kupu
I te Atua ano taua kupu I te timatanga.

Matua Hemi has a background in Maori radio, Maori performing arts, and teaching. Matua Hemi was raised by his elders, who instructed him in the traditions of his people. He has a passion for teaching our next generations in traditional Maori arts, such as tāniko weaving, tukutuku weaving, traditional Maori carving and performing arts.

As company Kaumatua, Matua Hemi holds the responsibility of being an adviser on cultural matters and to serve as a support person for all Workforce development staff and students. It was Matua Hemi who gave Workforce Development its Maori name: “Nga Whiringa Whanake Mahi.” His explanation for this name is simple “Weaving together that which grows in each of us.”

Arapera Riki

Kuia Wairua. Cultural Advisor

Ngati Kahungunu ki Ahuriri Kia ora! 

I am honoured to support and guide the Workforce Development Team in cultural awareness. 
It is most gratifying to be within a diverse and skilled team who assist all individuals and cultures connect and learn together with respect and understanding. 

Kelly Wardle

Head of Department Foundation & Early Childhood

Kelly has been with Workforce Development since the beginning of 2017 and has worked within the education sector for more than 15 years in various roles from teaching to management.

Jan Crawford

Head of Community and Work

Jan has been working in education her whole life and is passionate about helping people to communicate more effectively and use their numbers to solve problems and work efficiently.

Miriam Jardine

Quality Teaching and Learning Manager

Miriam has 40 years education experience and held academic management positions in tertiary private training establishments for 18 years managing staff and quality assurance systems. Prior to that she was an MOE Facilitator implementing MOE curriculum in primary and secondary schools, an Intermediate Senior Teacher often with trainee teachers who were on practicums, and a Primary Teacher.

Adam Punter

Finance Manager

Adam started as Finance Manager at Workforce Development in July 2018 and although he is new to the education sector he brings a wealth of knowledge with over 18 years of experience in the finance sector.

Adam is enjoying being part of the WFD team.

Lee Cartwright

Student Experience Manager

Lee has over 10 years experience in Tertiary Education & is based at our head office in Napier.
Lee and his team pride themselves on delivering high-quality student support services for Workforce Development.

Megan Hobden

HR and Administration Executive

Megan is an experienced HR and Administration Executive who has worked in a variety of organisations. She understands that it’s the people in a business that help it succeed and that those people must be supported by good HR practices.