Reform of Vocational Education

In 2020, the government implemented reforms of the vocational education sector to create a strong, unified, sustainable vocational education system that is fit for the future of work and delivers the skills that learners, employers and communities need to thrive. The Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) includes seven key changes.


The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) is the custodian of the New Zealand Qualifications Framework and is responsible for ensuring that New Zealand qualifications are trusted and serve the needs of learners and industry.

NZQA is working to simplify the design of vocational qualifications. This work includes a re-design of the structure and components of vocational qualifications to enable seamless transition for learners between workplace, online and in-class study. At the same time, this work supports the needs of industry by enhancing the consistency of graduate skills and knowledge and enhancing the portability of qualifications across different regions and employers.

NZQA is also supporting TEC in the establishment of Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) and Te Pūkenga (the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology). The disestablishment of Transitional Industry Training Organisations (TITOs) is an important part of this work. NZQA is focussing on enabling a smooth transfer of qualifications, programmes and standards between TITOs, WDCs and Te Pūkenga so any impact on learners or industry is minimised.

The introduction of WDCs and Te Pūkenga into the qualifications system also means that NZQA will need to review its approach to quality assurance, to ensure it fully supports the intent of RoVE and any changes made by NZQA to vocational qualifications. This work is expected to take place in 2021.

Simplifying the Vocational Qualifications System

As 2020 approaches its final quarter, NZQA is leading work on the review of qualifications to meet the intended outcomes for RoVE - in particular, how the vocational qualifications system can be simplified.

The aim is to create a vocational qualifications system that enables greater consistency of graduate outcomes, more seamless transitions for learners, less complexity for employers, and is more nimble in responding to the changing needs of industry.

Using ideas generated at two very informative “sandbox” workshops with stakeholders earlier this year, NZQA has now developed some early thinking on a refreshed vocational qualification system. Based on feedback from this event, our initial thoughts are that the new system would benefit from having fewer components than the current system - with qualifications, skills standards and micro-credentials as the main products.

NZQA is currently testing this early thinking with the relevant stakeholders. This will help to form the basis of any proposals and recommendations in future. However, there is still a long development process ahead.

Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that the proposed, modernised system will meet learner needs (particularly underserved learners such as Māori), whilst also adding value for industry and employers. 

Related News

Amendments to NZQA Rules to reflect the Reform of Vocational Education

Useful Links

The Tertiary Education Commission

Te Pūkenga (New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology)

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