The New Zealand Customs Service is a government agency with the job of ensuring the security of New Zealand’s borders and is composed of approximately 1,200 staff spread across the country.

As New Zealand’s first line of defence, the agency’s main purpose is to detect and prevent dangerous people and prohibited goods from crossing New Zealand’s border, to facilitate trade and travel, and to collect revenue owing to the Crown.

The Challenge

With a large distributed team throughout New Zealand, the Customs team wanted to make the process of managing learning easier and more efficient, while at the same time enabling staff and managers to improve the way they access development opportunities.

Compliance requirements and adherence to regulations are key drivers for the organisation, hence the ability to manage and track progress across all learning activities in the LMS was a key goal for Customs’ Totara Learn implementation.

The Solution

In the run-up to their launch, Customs ensured that a large catalogue of courses, both off-the-shelf and in-house, would be made available. In particular, they made use of the Program feature in Totara Learn to create work area frameworks and then mapped those across to appropriate courses and learning activities so that at all parts of the organisation were directed to the training/development that was relevant to them.

Catalyst provided the technical support, working with the Customs IT architects within stringent security requirements, to deliver an on-premise solution with single sign-on (SSO) integration.

Another key task undertaken during implementation was the migration of existing learning records from a legacy HR system into Totara’s learning records.

“It’s important for learners to be able to see their historic learning achievements on the new system as it assisted in creating buy-in for the change.”

Chrissy Lyons, People and Capability Manager at Customs

In partnership with Catalyst, Customs developed a new activity within the Totara Learn in order to capture and record on-the-job training activities. This is in the form of a plug-in called Benchmark which provides a task checklist that can be marked as witnessed by a coach. It also enables the learner to visually track their progress.

The Results

With a dispersed workforce, many more online development opportunities are now available to all parts of the organisation. Staff can now manage their own learning and progress towards compliance requirements. They are able to discuss this with managers who can readily see their data. Offering a ‘self-service’ application, Totara Learn really helps put the management of learning back into the business. As Chrissy says:

“Our LMS will change the face of Learning and Development for Customs. It will become the fabric of how we learn and measure.”

Chrissy Lyons, People and Capability Manager at Customs NZ