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.

We have released a document about changes to vocational education for the August Teacher Only Days. It includes the latest information about the changes that are happening across the education sector that relate to vocational education and training, and to support you to reflect on what these changes may mean for your school or kura. It is available in Te Reo Māori and English.

Skill Standards Engagement

NZQA is reviewing the NZQA Rules to reflect amendments to the Education and Training Act that came into effect on 1 August 2022 and to ensure the rules remain up-to-date and fit for purpose. The changes would allow schools and kura to apply for approval of micro-credentials, and to deliver them. Over time, it is anticipated that most schools and kura will offer skill standards as they incrementally replace unit standards.

NZQA is inviting feedback on the proposed changes. The consultation period is running until 5pm on Friday 21 October 2022. Please visit for information about the changes and how to provide your feedback. Please email if you have any questions.

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.

You can find more information about this programme of work on the NZQA website.

Vocational Entrance Award (name provisional)

The high-level design of a Vocational Entrance Award (name provisional) has been finalised and preparations are underway for testing prototypes in two industries with a very small number of schools and kura in 2023.

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.

Transitional Industry Training Organisations

As you will be aware, Transitional Industry Training Organisations (TITOs) 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.

Under RoVE, the arranging training functions of the TITOs are transferring to other providers such as Te Pūkenga, wānanga, and private training establishments. All TITOs must have transitioned their arranging training functions before the end of 2022. You can find out more information about TITO transitions on the TEC website.

TITOs 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 

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.

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.

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.

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Palmerston North Boys High School

Vocational programmes at Palmerston North Boys' High School
Vocational programmes at Palmerston North Boys' High School
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Geraldine High School

Vocational programmes at Geraldine High School
Vocational programmes at Geraldine High School