Paerewa Ako me te Marautanga ā-motu | Skill standards and ‘national curriculum’ sector working group

The purpose of the skill standards and ‘national curriculum’ co-design process is to support the implementation of the RoVE legislation and the Government’s decision to simplify New Zealand qualifications and other credentials. 

The delivery of a simplified qualifications and credential system requires the development of two new education products: skill standards and ‘national curriculum’ (final name to be determined).

Skill standards are intended to be the core building blocks of vocational qualifications and some other qualifications and credentials. They will be listed at Levels 1-7 and be components of qualifications up to Level 7 New Zealand Diplomas. 

Where qualifications or credentials are made up of mandatory skill standards, these must be used by all providers. Skill standards will support seamless transitions from provider-based to workplace learning and vice-versa, help to address inconsistencies in programme and graduate outcomes and support a coherent and flexible qualifications and credentials landscape.

Skill standards and ‘national curricula’ may be developed by Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) and NZQA (as the standard-setter for core, generic and mātauranga Māori standards), in collaboration with providers, industry and other stakeholders. Where a ‘national curriculum’ is developed and recognised for a specific qualification, it is intended to be used by all providers.

Skill standard and ‘national curriculum’ need to meet the needs of a wide range of stakeholders including learners, whānau, iwi, employers, communities, tertiary education organisations, government education organisations, schools, NZQA and other government departments/agencies.

To support a consistent approach to the development, usage and quality assurance of skill standards and ‘national curriculum’, NZQA are supporting a co-design process to develop templates and core components for wider consultation with the education sector. 

The skill standards and ‘national curriculum’ co-design process includes sector-nominated representatives to develop examples and processes for these products. The output from this will be used by NZQA to develop and review the Rules. These will be formally consulted on mid-2022. 

It is anticipated that the development of skill standards and ‘national curriculum’ will begin later in 2022. 

Te Horopaki |Background

NZQA manages the New Zealand Qualifications Framework and formally sets the rules that ensure the quality of qualifications listed on the framework. In collaboration with stakeholders, NZQA ensure the framework and associated educational products remain relevant for employers, industry, communities and learners.

The skill standard and ’national curriculum’ co-design work programme is part of a wider sector conversation that commenced with engagement meetings in 2020, and further explored in 2021 as part of our simplifying New Zealand qualifications and other credentials consultation. 

In September 2021, NZQA announced changes to the design of vocational qualifications. To enact the decisions, the Minister of Education has introduced legislative proposals to amend the Education and Training Act 2020

The diagram below outlines the stakeholder engagement process that is underway for the development and implementation of skill standards and ‘national curriculum’.

Click here for a larger version of the diagram (PNG, 295KB). 

Ngā Tukanga o te Mahi Ngātahi |Co-design Engagement Process

The co-design process is led by Te Rāngai Ohu Mahi - Paerewa Ako me te Marautanga ā-motu | Skill standards and ‘national curriculum’ sector working group. This group is facilitated by NZQA. 

The sector working group will develop skill standards and ‘national curricula’ examples, a skill standard and ‘national curriculum’ template, and give input to guidance for the development, approval, delivery and quality assurance of skill standard and ‘national curriculum’. Through this process the group will identify operational issues and opportunities to enhance the design and delivery of skill standards and ‘national curriculum’ and how they fit in the education product landscape.

Group members will be a key conduit for specialist technical feedback that will be incorporated into the early stages of the design process. 

Group members have been drawn from WDCs, Te Pūkenga, Wānanga, TITOs, Universities, Schools, PTEs, GTE, Tertiary Education Union, TEC, MoE and NZQA. Group deliverables will inform broader sector engagement and consultation and provide input to NZQA Rules on how the new education products will be listed and guidance. 

The Working Group will oversee three workstreams, broken down into teams, who will:

  • Develop a skill standards template and worked examples
  • Develop a ‘national curriculum’ template and worked example(s)
  • Input into the development of guidance and processes to support the successful implementation of skill standards and ‘national curriculum’

To support a consistent approach to the development, usage and quality assurance of skill standard and ‘national curriculum’ working templates and core components will be developed and tested by technical and subject matter experts from industry and education sectors.


The topic areas for the skill standard and ‘national curriculum’ examples will be confirmed by the Working Group, as will the team members, to ensure a balanced spread of working examples developed and relevant sector involvement. Teams will report their findings to the Working Group for review and will be used to inform recommendations to the NZQA Board.

Next steps

The final proposals for skills standards and ‘national curriculum’ are set to be  widely consulted on between June – September 2022. 

If you have any questions about this work please email If you wish to hear more about the NZQA RoVE programme of work please subscribe

This PDF outlines the WDC-NZQA co-design process (PDF, 364KB).

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