Final decision announced on reform of vocational education

August 1, 2019

Today the Minister of Education announced the government’s decisions on the Reform of Vocational Education.

Minister Hipkins has confirmed that the role of arranging training will be shifted to vocational providers, including the mega-polytech – the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, as well as private training establishments and Wānanga.

The role of setting standards, developing qualifications and monitoring the quality of training will shift to Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) – four to seven industry governed statutory bodies. The Minister has indicated these WDCs are likely to be organised along the same lines as the six Vocational Pathways: Construction and Infrastructure, Primary Industries, Manufacturing and Technology, Service Industries, Community and Social Services, and Creative Industries.  

Despite the concerns that we’ve had with the reforms, Skills Active is clear that we have a role to play in the new structure. Consistent feedback from our industries has been that they see great value in our ability to maintain their presence as a group with a strong voice.

With that in mind, we are looking at how to work within the Vocational Pathways to best serve the interests of our industries. We believe our best contribution to the reform will be to work with government to extend the scope of the Creative vocational pathway to embrace the breadth of our industries.

Over the next 12 weeks, government officials will be talking with all existing ITOs to finalise the WDC structure. The WDCs will then be established by 1 April 2020. 

The transition of on-job training to the provider network will be rolled out on a staged basis from June 2021 to the end of 2022. 

For the time being, it is business as usual at Skills Active. We will continue to arrange and oversee training – taking enrolments and supporting trainees, apprentices and their workplaces. We will also continue with our busy programme of developing new qualifications and standards to meet the demands of our industries.

All of this important work will be carefully transitioned to the new WDC and we’ll strive to provide a smooth process for our workplaces and trainees.

If you have any questions or need further information, please contact us on 0508 4 SKILLS or info@skillsactive.org.nz.