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 30 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 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.

Vision and Mission

Vision: A world-class private provider of vocational education, and New Zealand’s first Industry and Community College.

Mission: Applied learning that is flexible, practical, co-developed and relevant to our ‘Communities of Learners’ and stakeholders. Their voice, our expertise. 


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.

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. 

Stewart Whyte

Acting Head of Department: Trade Services and Corporate Training Manager

Stewart re-joins Workforce Development after previously having worked as the Auckland Regional Manager from 2010-2015. Having worked in the Private Training sector for over 15 years Stewart’s experience with stakeholder management, student services and pastoral care enables him to provide the very best service to the communities he serves.

His qualifications include a Masters in Professional Practice and a Degree in Applied Management and he further serves the community having governance roles for sports organisations.

Stewart’s passion is to support people from diverse backgrounds to gain qualifications and positively pathway into a career of their choice.

Jenny Pang

Head of Department: Early Childhood Education

With over 15 years of experience in the early childhood education and primary school sectors, Jenny shares her passion in providing high quality education for both children and adults. She has owned and operated her own home-based education and care service and holds a current teacher’s registration. Her qualifications include a Master in Management (Marketing) and Bachelor of Teaching (ECE).

Normalee Sekai

Head of Department: Hauora/Health & Wellbeing

Norma is an inspirational leader with considerable experience in the Youth Work and Hauora fields. She has a passion for guiding rangatahi and adult learners to become independent thinkers and achieve their dreams. Norma commenced at Workforce Development as a student, obtaining her Diploma in Youth Work before returning as a tutor in 2014. She also holds qualifications in business administration, adult education and hospitality. “I believe in putting relationships before business, as this gives trust and credibility, relationships are a big enabler in my profession.”

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.

Megan Hobden

HR Manager

Megan is an experienced HR Manager 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.

Tiana Hohaia-Hall


No Aorangi ahau

Kei Ahuriri ahau e noho ana

Tiana joined Workforce Development more than 3 years ago after returning from the U.K. She has served in a variety of administration roles within the organisation. Tiana is very process driven and organised, ensuring that we have the right systems in place so that all learners have a quality experience throughout their student journey – and that our relevant data is thorough and accurate.

Tiana is currently studying Te Reo Maori Level 3, which has been a big confidence boost and a journey in itself, learning about her culture. Tiana is a keen sportswoman – and Saturdays are taken up with kids sports and netball. When possible she tries to find the time to run around on the squash court.