Vocational qualification changes benefit learners and employers

14 Sep 2021

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) says learners and employers will benefit from a clearer system of vocational qualifications.

NZQA heard strong support for simplifying the qualifications system when engaging with key stakeholders in early 2020, and formal consultation in 2021 received submissions from over 400 stakeholders.

The decisions announced today will enable industry, employers and iwi to have greater influence, through the newly established Workforce Development Councils (WDCs). 

These changes also support the ability of learners to move more easily between work based learning and other modes of delivery, and between different regions and providers.

WDCs will be able to decide between using a single ‘national curriculum’ or endorsing programmes developed by providers.

The use of a ‘national curriculum’ will lead to greater consistency of graduate skills, knowledge and attributes, irrespective of which provider delivers a New Zealand qualification or what mode of delivery is used.

Alternatively, a WDC may enable providers to develop unique programmes against a New Zealand qualification where industry sees the value in a diversity of graduate outcomes. In this situation, the WDC will endorse provider programmes prior to NZQA approval.

The building blocks of New Zealand qualifications will be newly developed skill standards, which specify the learning outcomes and standard of performance required.

Consistent use of skill standards will be important for industry and learners who move between providers. Over time, skill standards will replace both unit standards and the wide range of courses, papers and modules developed by providers.

Other decisions include allowing WDCs (as well as providers and others) to develop micro-credentials; replacing training schemes with micro-credentials; and formally including micro-credentials on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

The new qualifications system will be introduced gradually, as WDCs, Te Pūkenga, Regional Skills Leadership Groups and others increasingly implement the reformed vocational education system.

To enact the decisions, the Minister of Education will introduce legislative proposals to amend the Education and Training Act 2020 later in 2021.

More information:

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