The reforms aim to create a strong, unified, sustainable system for all vocational education that delivers the skills that learners, employers and communities need to thrive.

The new system will have a stronger focus on employers, delivering the skills they need, providing more support for their employees, and ensuring greater consistency in vocational education across the country. Longer term, this will increase the number of employers who are engaged in vocational education.

Learners will receive more support while they are training, and vocational education that is more relevant to work. They will be able to move more easily between regions and between work-based and provider-based training, and will be able to continue training more easily if their employment situation changes.

Work-integrated learning will become an increasingly important part of the vocational education system, giving people the opportunity and flexibility to earn while they learn and gain an education that is more directly relevant to the changing needs of the workplace.

A unified vocational education system will bring together industry and educators to make sure New Zealand’s workforce is fit for today’s needs and tomorrow’s expectations.

Seven key changes

The scope of the Reform of Vocational Education includes seven key changes that will create a unified vocational education system:

  1. Create Workforce Development Councils: Around four to seven industry-governed bodies, to give industry greater leadership across vocational education.
  2. Establish Regional Skills Leadership Groups: These would provide advice about the skills needs of their regions to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), workforce development councils, and local vocational education providers.
  3. Establish Te Taumata Aronui: A group to help ensure that the Reform of Vocational Education reflects the Government’s commitment to Māori Crown partnerships.
  4. Create a New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology: A unified, sustainable, public network of regionally accessible vocational education, bringing together the existing 16 ITPs.
  5. Shift the role of supporting workplace learning from ITOs to providers: The new Institute and other providers would support workplace-based, on-the-job training as well as delivering education and training in provider-based, off-the-job settings, to achieve seamless integration between the settings and to be well connected with the needs of industry.
  6. Establish Centres of Vocational Excellence: CoVEs will bring together the Institute, other providers, workforce development councils, industry experts, and leading researchers to grow excellent vocational education provision and share high-quality curriculum and programme design across the system.
  7. Unify the vocational education funding system: A unified funding system will apply to all provider-based and work-integrated education at certificate and diploma qualification levels 3 to 7 (excluding degree study) and all industry training.

Together, these changes aim to create a vocational education system that is ready for a fast-changing future of skills, learning and work. This unified system will:

  • Deliver to the unique needs of all learners, including those who have been traditionally under-served, such as Māori, Pacific peoples, and disabled learners, particularly as Māori and Pacific peoples will form a growing part of the working-age population in the future
  • Be relevant to the changing needs of employers
  • Be collaborative, innovative and sustainable for all regions of New Zealand
  • Uphold and enhance Māori Crown partnerships.

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