Unit standards, TITOs, and the Vocational Entrance Award

Unit standards will continue to count towards the credit requirements for NCEA at all levels. The unit standard-setting function of transitional industry training organisations (TITOs) will be shifting to Workforce Development Councils (WDCs), and in time the arranging training function will transfer to providers such as Te Pūkenga, wānanga and private training establishments. The Ministry of Education is also developing a Vocational Entrance Award (name provisional), which will be launched from 2024.


Unit Standards continue to count towards NCEA

In response to the Review of Achievement Standards, we have been receiving queries about the future of unit standards. Both unit standards and achievement standards will continue to count towards all levels of NCEA and the Ministry does not intend to change this policy at this time.

Many industry-derived unit standards are relevant for students and their pathways, particularly for NCEA Levels 2 and 3. The Ministry supports schools to work with their communities, including whānau, employers and tertiary education organisations, to develop programmes of learning that support a wide range of student pathways.

NZQA has recently closed a consultation on simplifying New Zealand Qualifications and other credentials such as Skill Standards. We will be able to provide an update on the outcomes of the consultation and the impacts this will have for schools later this year.  Over time, Skills Standards will replace Unit Standards as the core components of vocational programmes, once the WDCs are established NZQA will consult on the proposed structure and content of these Standards.

As the transition from unit standards to skill standards occurs, we will work with schools to ensure a smooth transition and that schools are still enabled to deliver a wide range of programmes to support student pathways.

NZQA intends to consult further on skill standards later in 2021 or early 2022, depending on the timing of the establishment of WDCs.

Transitional industry training organisations

Unit standard-setting function transferring to WDCs.

Transitional industry training organisations (TITOs) are currently responsible for arranging training for people in the workplace and setting standards.

As part of the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE), Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) are being established and will provide industry with greater leadership across vocational education and training. They will set the standards and be responsible for qualifications for the industries they are responsible for, as well as work with related industries and sectors.

All WDCs will begin operating on 4 October 2021 at which point unit standards that are currently owned by TITOs will be transferred to the relevant WDC. This means any queries or applications regarding consent to assess for unit standards will be handled by the relevant WDC from 4 October 2021.

As part of these changes, the responsibility of brokering workplace learning and managing apprenticeships will be transferred from TITOs to providers. Te Pūkenga, a newly developed public network of regionally accessible vocational education, is likely to be responsible for a significant proportion of workplace learning but over time, more providers, including wānanga and private training establishments, will also offer workplace learning.

The TITOs are currently developing transition plans to outline how their arranging training activities, including workplace learning for Gateway, will shift to Te Pūkenga or other providers. For all TITOs, this transition must take place before the end of 2022.

For the purposes of Gateway and secondary school vocational education programmes, schools should continue to connect with the TITOs and other providers as they normally would. TITOs will be in touch with their stakeholders as their transition plans are approved and implemented.

Further communications will be provided in later 2021.

Vocational Entrance Award

A new way to strengthen pathways into industry.

As part of the NCEA Change Programme, the Ministry is developing a Vocational Entrance Award (name provisional) to help strengthen pathways into a variety of industries.

This Award will signal 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 such as an apprenticeship.

We are engaging with a wide range of stakeholders on the high-level design of this Award, including schools and wharekura, tertiary providers, ITOs, employers and industry representatives, and young people. We are expecting the Award to be implemented in 2024 and 2025, alongside the new Level 2 and 3 achievement standards.

As part of the work to strengthen vocational pathways through NCEA, we are also reviewing the Level 2 Vocational Pathways Award and the Vocational Pathways system.

Further communications will be provided in late 2021.