The history of New Zealand’s vocational education system


149,000 learners (trainees) achieving around 80% credit and programme completions with 100% employed.


Discussing the vocational education industry Minister Joyce said, “We are well set up to meet the industry needs of an expanding economy in the years ahead”.


Disbanding of the ITO sector was considered; however, the benefits of the system were found to be compelling. ITO’s consolidated through a consultative process. The resulting 11 stronger ITOs gained the confidence of the government.


There were 38 ITOs and approx. 105,000 trainees. New funding rules were put in place to ensure better governance and accountability from ITOs.


There were 54 ITOs and approx. 200,000 trainees. Many smaller ITOs lacked the ability to provide industry leadership. An economic downturn led to a dramatic fall in trainee numbers and a related 25% funding cut for ITOs.


Skills NZ became TEC and established one funding rate of $3200 per Standard Training Measure (STM) for all ITOs. STM funding proves it can provide the flexibility needed for learners working in changing environments.


The Education and Training Support Agency (ETSA) became Skills NZ. Each ITO had a different funding rate and the system was cumbersome and impractical.


Government established a new system that was industry led, supported competency-based training and provided flexibility for employers. ITOs (organisations like Skills) were set up to respond to industry demand for skills, instead of relying on student demand for polytechnic courses.


The National Qualifications Framework was developed. Qualifications were now based off workplace competencies and industry standards, providing learners with transferable skills across industries.


The vocational education system was inflexible, slow to adapt to employers’ training needs and there was a disconnect between on-job experience and off-job training.