About us

Competenz helps Kiwis build skills, careers and businesses. We develop national qualifications and make it easy to learn on the job.

Our Board

Mike Simm lowres

Mike Simm is a professional director and a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Directors. He is currently a director of Ngapuhi Asset Holding Co, Kerikeri Village Limited, and director/trustee of several smaller Northland entities.

Mike trained as an accountant and worked at Rheem in both New Zealand and Australia and at McConnell Dowell and McConnell Group in the manufacturing engineering and construction sectors before becoming Executive Director and shareholder/part-owner of Northland tourism operator, Fullers Bay of Islands.

After selling out of Fullers in 2001, Mike was active in the tourism, manufacturing and engineering sectors and regional economic development, serving as director/trustee/advisor in several related companies, trusts and local and central government entities.

Mike has also focused his attention on youth development and transitions from school to work, particularly through his work as a trustee of various community trusts including Enterprise Northland, the Tucker Thompson Sailing Trust and the Northland Youth Development Trust.

John Blakey lowres

John Blakey was the CEO of Competenz until December 2015. He has over 20 years of experience in vocational education and training. He is currently a professional director and executive coach.

John has played a pivotal role in the evolution of industry training in New Zealand during his career. Before joining Competenz, he was the CEO of FITEC, the forestry industry training organisation, for nine years.

He was a two-term Tertiary Education Commission commissioner and Board member, and past Chair of the Industry Training Federation. He has led the industry training policy position on the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission and its successor, the Tertiary Education Commission.


Bryn Thompson lowres2
Bryn Thompson is the founder and CEO of Christchurch based Metalcraft Engineering Company Ltd and its international brand, The Glass Racking Company. He also is a Director of Cassem Holdings – a commercial property company and Avid Group Ltd – a car care lifestyle company.

Bryn is a proud member and Vice President of the New Zealand Manufacturers Association, Chairman of the Canterbury Manufacturers Trust and Director of ARA Institute of Technology Canterbury.

Bryn comes from a trade background having completed an apprenticeship as a Fitter/Welder Section B with Southern Cross Engineering in Christchurch, before travelling and working in England within the steel fabrication sector, then returning home to start his own fabrication company in 1990.

Bryn is passionate about supporting young and talented tradespeople through their apprenticeships and has shared a close relationship with Competenz for the past 26 years. He has also been a volunteer mentor through the New Zealand Business Mentor programme for the past twelve years and is the currently active on amplifier boards for ChristchurchNZ.

Judy Newcomb lowres

Judy Newcombe is a professional director and strategy consultant. She has many years of experience in the fields of organisational transformation and change management.

Judy has held many senior management roles in some of New Zealand's top corporates including Tower Insurance New Zealand, Telecom and Fonterra and has more recently worked in the not-for-profit sector, focusing on educational leadership development. She has also had a distinguished career in management consulting with KPMG and its successor BearingPoint, becoming one of the New Zealand managing directors of this firm.

Her expertise is in guiding organisations through the development of new strategic directions based on a deep understanding of market opportunities and customer needs, as well as facilitating organisational transitions. This expertise strengthens the Board’s governance role during a period of significant change for Competenz.

Tupara Morrison lowres

Tupara Morrison is of Te Arawa descent – Ko Ngāti Whakaue tōku Iwi, Ko Ngāti Pūkākī, Ngāti Hurungaterangi ōku hapū.

He is a Massey University business studies graduate, Chartered Accountant Fellow, and member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors.

Tupara has extensive governance experience within the health, tertiary education, iwi development and tourism sectors. Alongside Competenz, Tupara maintains his ministerial governance appointments to Te Puia – the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua, and Meteorological Service of New Zealand Limited in Wellington. He is also a director of Ngāti Whakaue Assets Trust, the Māori Education Trust, Waiheke Health Trust, and Waka Ama NZ.

Tupara has a Māori outcomes consultancy role at Kainga Ora in Auckland, providing programme and project advice for the Auckland Housing Plan, and is on the Establishment Leadership Group for the Rotorua Housing Strategy.

George Adams lowres

George Adams has 30 years of experience leading companies in New Zealand, Africa and Europe, which has given him an in-depth appreciation of the benefits of industry training to learners, companies and the country.

He is the former chair of the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council, and currently holds chairman and directorship roles on the boards of the Worker Related Health Advisory Board, the Business Leaders Health and Safety Forum, Mix Cosmetics, Apollo Foods, Tegel Group Holdings Limited, Insightful Mobility, Arborgen, Cavalier Corporation and Netlogix Limited. He also chaired the 2014 Independent Forestry Safety Inquiry.

George is an experienced professional executive and director, and a strong advocate for the FMCG, forestry, and health and safety sectors.

Bill Newson


National Secretary of E Tu. He has a trades background and many years of involvement in trades training. He has played a major role in developing the engineering apprenticeship training trusts.