Pathways

Vocational education and training pathways are supported through NCEA. This webpage hosts information about key initiatives and avenues that seek to support vocational pathways as well as resources that showcase how vocational programmes are preparing students for work, further training, or study.

Reform of Vocational Education 

The Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) aims to create a strong, unified, sustainable vocational education system. This new system will be fit for the future of work and will deliver the skills that learners, employers, and communities need to thrive. 

Schools and kura remain crucial to vocational education. The Ministry of Education wants to ensure that schools, kura, and tertiary education organisations are better linked to each other and to the world of work. 

Schools and kura are encouraged to continue supporting students as they study vocational learning options including those undertaken through funding and programmes such as the Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR), Gateway, and Trades Academies.

Vocational Entrance Award (name provisional)

We will be conducting further targeted sector engagements this year to finalise the high-level design of a Vocational Entrance Award (name provisional), with a view to testing a limited prototype with a small number of schools and kura in the near future.

The Award is being developed as part of Change 6 of the NCEA Change Package - "Clearer pathways to further education or work". Achieving the Award will demonstrate that a learner has undertaken initial learning valued by industry, employers and tertiary education organisations (TEOs), and is ready to transition into higher-level vocational education including apprenticeships.

Last year's engagements with a wide range of stakeholders - including the Pathways Advisory Group, people from kura and wãnanga, and young people - enabled us to progress the high-level design work and to explore a range of themes, including the concept of pathways and how we support education to employment.

Transitional Industry Training Organisations

As you will be aware, Transitional Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) have been holding two core functions: arranging workplace training and standard setting.

The standard setting functions of the Transitional ITOs have already been transferred to the Workforce Development Councils. See the section below.

Under RoVE, the arranging training functions of the Transitional ITOs are transferring to other providers such as Te Pūkenga, wānanga, and private training establishments. All Transitional ITOs must have transitioned their arranging training functions before the end of 2022.

Completed Transitions

The following Transitional ITOs have transitioned to new providers.

Date Transitional ITO Receiving Provider What Transferred?
2 Aug 2021 Competenz Te Pūkenga Work Based Learning Ltd subsidiary Most staff, learners and arranging training functions
2 Aug 2021 Competenz PTE Skills4Work Retail meat apprenticeships
2 Aug 2021 NZ Marine & Composites ITO New PTE Marine and Specialized Technologies Academy of New Zealand (MAST Academy) Most staff, learners and arranging training functions
1 Sep 2021 Connexis Te Pūkenga Work Based Learning Ltd subsidiary Most staff, learners and arranging training functions
4 Oct 2021 BCITO Te Pūkenga Work Based Learning Ltd subsidiary Most staff, learners and arranging training functions
1 Jan 2022 MITO Te Pūkenga Work Based Learning Ltd subsidiary Most staff, learners and arranging training functions
1 Jan 2022 MITO Marine and Specialised Technologies Academy of New Zealand (MAST Academy) Small group of industrial textile fabrication learners

Upcoming Transitions

Date Transitional ITO Receiving Provider What Transferred?
1 July 2022 Service Skills Institute (ServiceIQ) Te Pūkenga Work Based Learning Ltd subsidiary All staff, learners, and arranging training functions
1 July 2022 Skills Organisation Incorporated (Skills) St John Learners and arranging training functions for the Ambulance sector
1 Sept 2022 Skills Organisation Incorporated (Skills) ICE Ignite Vertical Horizonz Staff, learners, and arranging training functions for the following sectors: Appliance Servicing, Case Management, Contact Centre, Credit Management, Customer Premise Systems, Electrical Equipment in Explosive Atmospheres, Electronic Engineering, Electronic Security, Emergency Communications, Motor Rewinding, Public Sector, Real Estate, Roofing, Switchgear fitting
1 Oct 2022 Skills Organisation Incorporated (Skills) Te Pūkenga Work Based Learning Ltd subsidiary ETCO ICE Ignite Strategi Vertical Horizonz Staff, learners, and arranging training functions for the following sectors: Adult Education, Building Surveying/Regulatory, Business, Civil Defence, Conservation, Coordinated Incident Management Systems, Cranes, Electricians, Elevated Work Platforms, Financial Services, Fire & Rescue, Industrial Measurement & Control, Industrial Rope Access, Intelligence, Organisation Risk & Compliance, Offender Management, Plumbing, Gasfitting & Drainlaying, Regulatory Compliance (G-Reg), Rigging, Scaffolding, Security, Statistics and Workplace Health & Safety
1 Oct 2022 Primary ITO Te Pūkenga Work Based Learning Ltd subsidiary All staff, learners, and arranging training functions

The remaining three Transitional ITOs are continuing to develop their transition plans. The Tertiary Education Commission will communicate confirmed transition arrangements once they are approved by the TEC Board of Commissioners. The transition planning process should be wrapped up by around mid-2022.

Transitional ITOs will be in touch with their stakeholders as their transition plans are approved and implemented. Until then, schools should continue to connect with the Transitional ITOs and other vocational education providers as they normally would. Please note that the TITOs’ contact details have not changed for schools wanting to access resources and materials for Gateway and other standards and programmes used in schools – all except NZMAC which has transitioned to MAST Academy.

Workforce Development Councils 

On As of 4 October 2021, the six new Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) which represent all industries in Aotearoa became operational. Ohu Mahi provides a guide to which WDC covers which industries and provides links to the six WDCs. The role of the WDCs is to work with their industries to develop and maintain a strategic view of the skills their industries require, now and in the future. WDCs are responsible for developing and maintaining industry qualifications and unit standards. These qualifications and standards are currently being managed by both the WDCs and NZQA. They have been updated on NZQA’s system and you will be able to find out which ones have been transferred to each WDC by searching NZQA’s website:

  • For standards, search for the unit standard by number (or via field/subfield/domain) on the Directory of Assessment Standards. The name of the WDC that is the new standard-setting body will be displayed on the resulting screen. Note: the documents relating to the standard will still show the previous standard setting body’s details.

  • For qualifications, search for the qualification by keyword or qualification number on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF). Click on the qualification to view the name of the WDC that is the new qualification developer.

The WDCs are also taking on responsibility for running national external moderation and endorsing consent to assess applications for unit standards within their coverage areas.

Providers will develop a programme of study/learning to meet the requirements of each qualification.

Questions for WDCs?

If you have any questions about a WDC, you can contact them via their website:

Waihanga Ara Rau

Toi Mai

Toitū te Waiora

Hanga-Aro-Rau

Muka Tangata

Ringa Hora

Use of Unit and Skill Standards

In response to the Review of Achievement Standards, we have been receiving queries about the future of unit standards. Over time, skill standards will replace unit standards as the core components of vocational qualifications. Skill standards will be new, and it may take several years for a significant number to be developed. In the meantime, unit standards will continue to count towards the credit requirements for NCEA at all levels, and you can include unit standards in your course planning as you usually would.

This year the Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) and NZQA started a co-led design process with a working group of 33 members drawn from WDCs, Te Pūkenga, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, schools/kura, PTEs, GTE, Tertiary Education Union, TITOs, universities, TEC, MoE, and NZQA. There are school/kura representatives from both English and Māori medium on this group.

The working group are developing design principles for skill standards and national curricula, as well as templates and worked examples for these two new education products. The design principles for skills standards are informed by ngā mātāpono that form Te Hono o Te Kahurangi, a Mātauranga Māori framework gifted to NZQA in 2012.

The work of the group will inform broader sector engagement and consultation later this year. The group will also provide input into NZQA rules and guidance for the implementation of RoVE changes including the new education products.

Read more information on this programme of work.

Vocational Programmes in Schools

We visited a few schools and kura to look at how their vocational programmes are preparing students for work, further training or study.