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The Funeral Service Training Trust of New Zealand

In 1991 The Industry Training Act was introduced which established Industry Training Organisations (ITO’s) as a replacement for the defunct Industry Training Boards and Committees. As a result, The Funeral Service Training Trust of New Zealand (FSTT) was established in 1991 under the Charitable Trusts Act clause of the Act. The structure of the Trust, was almost identical to the old FSTC, but provision was made for additional industry representatives should the need arise.

Founder trustees were Francis Day (Chairman), Murray Hird, Howard Vosper, Brian Hope, Mike Marfell-Jones and John Peryer.
With the retirement of Howard Vosper and Murray Hird, Eion McKinnon and Stuart Wheeler replaced them as industry representatives. Ian Parker and Andrew Malcolm replaced Eion McKinnon and Stuart Wheeler respectively. Mark Pattinson and Stephen Dil replaced Brian Hope and Andrew Malcolm respectively. During this time, Dr Peter Osborne was appointed as an Educational Representative. Upon his retirement, Anne McGuire was appointed in the capacity of both Educational and Maori Representative.

The Trust continued to act as the Advisory Committee to the Central Institute of Technology (CIT) and then the Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) and has developed a respect and understanding from members of those institutes for their diligence and hard work.

The Industry Training Act and the Education Amendment Act brought with them new challenges and a huge workload to understand the new training initiatives of Government. The formation of Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) was where the real challenge lay. By becoming the ITO for funeral services in New Zealand the Trust assumed responsibility for all funeral training in New Zealand. However the Trust was now in a position to access funding for training programmes and for completing a total re-write of the courses to meet the requirements of registering "Unit Standards" on the Qualifications Framework.

The implications were enormous. Our qualifications became National Certificates and Diplomas, recognised throughout New Zealand and overseas.

The Trust surveyed industry, carried out a training needs analysis and developed a strategic plan outlining a five-year programme. Advisory groups were set up to develop the unit standards, debate and develop assessment, moderation, accreditation and marketing plans and to package the new units into qualifications suitable to the Qualifications Authority. This was no easy task, and the work carried out in this area by members of the Trust and advisory group members should be acknowledged.

The projects were completed within the budget schedules determined prior to commencement, and were part-funded by the Education Training & Support Agency (ETSA). All Audit requirements were fulfilled. ETSA became Skill NZ, which is now part of the Tertiary Education Commission. With each change came new rules, new changes, new funding schedules and new people. All of which has created many hours of extra work for the Trust. Since the initial work of developing unit standards and qualifications was completed the Trust has not received any Government funding. This is due principally to changes in Government policy.

The Trust established a Secretariat in Wellington in 1995. This was handled by Joan Sawkins in a very professional manner. Upon Joan’s retirement, Fiona Gillespie was appointed Secretary of the Trust during the middle of 2003.

The ongoing work of the Trust in developing and presenting high quality seminars and workshops to the funeral and allied professions continues to be a major focus.

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