New Zealand Customs Service - connecting a distributed workforce

Customs is the Government agency tasked with ensuring the security of New Zealand’s borders and has around 1,200 staff spread across the country, and in overseas locations. They're working to 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 such a large staff across New Zealand and abroad, the Customs team needed to make 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, so the ability to manage and track progress across all learning activities in the LMS was a key goal for Customs’ Totara LMS implementation.

Customs logoOur Solution

We worked closely with Customs' IT staff, within stringent security requirements, to deliver an on-premise solution with Single Sign On (SSO) integration. We also developed a new plugin called Benchmark, that supports on-job-training. Benchmark provides a task checklist that can be marked as witnessed by a coach, and enables the learner to visually track their progress. Customs were keen to share this innovation with others by releasing it under an open source license:

We also assisted with migration of existing learning records from a legacy HR system into Totara’s Learning Records. Chrissy Lyons, People and Capability Manager at Customs commented that it was 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. 

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, Customs' new LMS really helps puts the management of learning back into the business.