"The C&E Act learning programme was a multi-faceted initiative that became all the more complex and challenging due to the high priority and visibility from stakeholders across the organisation. There was a large group with diverse audience segments to satisfy; it had to be done simply and with minimal disruption to operations.

It was brilliant to have Inspire as our learning partners. They helped us fulfil our vision of designing an innovative and versatile solution that eased the way forward for the implementation of the new Act.”

Sonia Mani - Senior learning and development advisor, new zealand customs


The Customs and Excise Act 1996, legislation that underpins the modus operandi for all New Zealand Customs' employees, underwent a complete overhaul in 2018. The new Customs and Excise Act 2018 introduced a variety of changes in global business and technological trends, flexibility for future-focused requirements and subtle shifts in customer service. Employees needed to be able to confidently perform their functions under the new legislation from the day the Act came into effect. This was a daunting prospect for an organisation that had operated within the same legal framework for 20 years.


The Customs and Excise Act 2018 was a major legislative change that affected New Zealand Customs’ 1200-strong workforce. Customs needed a learning campaign that would address the targeted needs of its operational staff while providing the flexibility and variety in learning options demanded by a widespread, shift-working and very busy workforce.

Inspire Group's approach was to design a cohesive and well-integrated learning strategy that was rolled out in the form of a ‘learning campaign’ across three phases.



 Phase 1 – Engage and inform:

This scene-setting phase was aimed at building understanding and acceptance of the changes and was delivered through a set of online interactive learning videos.

Phase 2 – Prepare and implement:

This phase focused on supporting the medium-to-high impact learner segments, using a combination of eLearning, face-to-face workshops, quick reference guides, leader-led briefings and mediated online forums. This included the identification and training of adequate numbers of champions to support medium-impact areas and in-depth training for all staff in the high-impact areas. The availability of media types catered for different learning styles/abilities.

Phase 3 – Review and align:

This phase ran in the background throughout the rollout to review and update all existing learning materials (online and print) related to the Customs and Excise Act.


The overall desired result of the learning programme was that staff were confident they knew and understood how to perform their new and changed functions and that Customs was able to operate under the new legislation effectively from day one.

Qualitative feedback gathered from managers indicated they were happy with the level of staff confidence and preparedness. The reference-based approach (which did not saturate the learners with information) was successful and the learning portal resources enabled staff to continually refresh their knowledge and opened channels to obtain answers to any new questions that arose.

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