the Boating Industry Training Organisation (BITO) was formed to better address the needs and demands of the niche market of boatbuilding. Before BITO, apprentices were training under the Unitec umbrella which was heavily skewed towards campus applications and not necessarily related to the needs of the boatbuilding industry.
New Zealand has long been associated with skilled mariners and their bond with the ocean. Following the rebound of the GFC, Kiwis returned to their sea-going roots. A massive increase in demand for commercial and recreational fishing vessels brought with it the need for skilled craftspeople. At the same time, Kiwi craftsmanship was gaining international recognition and on the wish-list of the world’s wealthy. New Zealand-made superyachts became the newest signal of status; including vessels such as Vertigo, Loretta Anne, Quintessential, Ohana, Inmocean, Tiara, Kokomo as well as many more.
the government was looking to consolidate training providers and BITO faced being absorbed into another Industry Training Organisation conglomerate. It was recognised that BITO was in a high-value sector and it stood out as a strong contender to remain on its own; consequently, and with strong industry buy-in, it was given special dispensation to continue serving its specialised market. BITO expanded its coverage to include the composites industry in 2011 and began trading as New Zealand Marine and Composites Industry Training Organisation (NZMAC ITO).
The 1995, 2000 and 2017 New Zealand wins of the coveted America’s Cup, along with many other awards, were the jewels in the crown for the hardworking and proud New Zealand boating industry. The international boating industry was looking to NZ for cutting edge new technologies and unparalleled workmanship.
The composites industry was moving leaps and bounds ahead as well. Between creating niche components for superyachts and America’s Cup boats, Olympians using NZ-made composite wheels on their racing bicycles, and launching payloads into outer space, New Zealand composite apprentices can literally shoot for the moon, and beyond.
These incredible milestones fuelled the drive in the heart of the marine industry and its dedication to providing proper training for its future generations.
NZMAC ITO was the category winner for the Best Apprenticeship or Training Scheme in Boatbuilding at the International Boat Industry (IBI)-METSTRADE Boat Builder Awards held in Amsterdam. This global recognition was a testament to the initiative undertaken by kiwis to put themselves at the forefront of the global boating industry.
In November 2018, the government announced the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) which proposed the disestablishment of Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) which occurred on the 1st of April, 2020. The Reforms are creating six new Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) responsible for ‘standard setting’. Simultaneously, all sixteen Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics were amalgamated into one entity, the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST), known as Tē Pukenga PMO and identified as a ‘Provider’. This effectively split the key functions of NZMAC ITO: the role of ‘standard setting’ is moving to the Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics WDC and that ‘management of workplace training’ moves to a ‘provider’ organisation.
The ‘provider’ organisation receiving the NZMAC ITO ‘management of workplace training’ functions is the newly created Marine and Specialised Technologies Academy of New Zealand (MAST Academy), founded in August 2021.
MAST Academy is a proud member of the NZ Marine Industry Association (NZMI), the Composites Association of New Zealand (CANZ), and the Marina Operators Association (MOA).