Reform of Vocational Education

Reform of Vocational Education - Hospitality New Zealand

The Government have released their Reform of Vocational Education discussion document.

The Minister has said:

At a time when we’re facing critical skill shortages, our polytechnics and institutes of technology are going broke. The strong labour market is encouraging young people to move directly into the workforce rather than continue informal education, and our system isn’t geared up for the future economy, where re-training and up-skilling will be a regular feature of everyone’s working life. It’s time to reset the whole system and fundamentally rethink the way we view vocational education and training, and how it’s delivered. We need to move from a system where educational institutions and on the job training compete with one another, to a system where on the job and provider-based learning is seamlessly integrated.

We need a model where businesses, industry, iwi and local government in every region play an active role in driving skills development. We need to shift from the current approach where they ask their local education providers “what can you do for us?” to one where they say “this is what we want from you”.

We need a system of training and skills development that is more flexible and more nimble, so we can get people with the right skills into the right jobs much faster.

Submissions close:


Friday 5 April 2019

You can provide feedback via the options below – be sure to include your name and contact details with your feedback:

  • Email:
  • Engagement events: There will be four community engagement days, where a wide range of community stakeholders can engage with the Reform of Vocational Education team. These community stakeholders will include, but not be limited to, employers, learners (including students, trainees and apprentices), iwi and community representatives, unions, as well as education providers/schools and ITOs – in Auckland, Rotorua, Palmerston North, and Christchurch. Dates will be posted on their website, once confirmed.
  • Online: The Education Reform workgroup will be providing an online survey “soon”.

You don’t need to write a formal submission or limit your feedback to the questions asked – any and all feedback, written and verbal, will be taken into account as the Government makes its final decisions.

We encourage all members to make a submission and give their views to the government on this.

Hospitality NZ is also interested in your views on this – we would welcome your feedback to help shape our submission too – please email our Advocacy and Policy Manager, Nadine Mehlhopt by Monday 11 March 2019.

Consultation documents are available to read at the following links:

Overview from the consultation document:

The document sets out an integrated package of reforms the Government is considering for New Zealand’s vocational education system.

Why are changes being proposed?

Our vocational education system must change to meet current and future challenges, and deliver better outcomes for New Zealand. Vocational education can help to ensure that all New Zealanders have the skills, knowledge and capability to adapt and succeed in a world of rapid economic, social and technological change. It can improve people’s resilience, employment security and life outcomes, and reduce social inequities.

  • We need to be ready for a fast-changing future of skills, learning and work
  • Employers need confidence that the vocational education system will respond to their needs
  • The regions of New Zealand need a collaborative, flexible and sustainable vocational education system
  • We need a vocational education system that delivers to the needs of all learners
  • We want to build on New Zealand’s international reputation as a great place to study
  • Education technology is changing
  • We can turn our challenges into opportunities
  • To achieve this we must solve some pressing and long-standing problems

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What changes are being proposed?

The three main proposals of the reforms are:

  1. Redefine the roles of education providers and ITOs, and extend the leadership role of industry and employers across all vocational education through new Industry Skills Bodies .

    Reform of Vocational Education - 3

  2. Create an institution, with the working name of the New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology, bringing together our 16 public Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) as a single entity.

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  3. Create a unified vocational education funding system, removing barriers to collaboration and flexibility, ensuring a sustainable network of provision, and supporting the wider reforms.


What could the changes mean for you?

Employers and Industry:

Employers and industry would have more choice about how they engage with vocational education providers to meet the skill needs of their current and future workforce.

Employers would have a choice of education providers to work with, rather than having to arrange on-job training via their ITO.

Better integration of work-place and provider based vocational education programmes would enable employees to gain the skills that employers and industry need.

Via Regional Leadership Groups, employers would be able to tell the New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology and the Government what their skill needs are, and how well the Institute was meeting them.

Via Industry Skills Bodies, employers would have a greater leadership role across the entire vocational education system, in setting skills standards and overseeing qualifications and programmes for their industry. They would have greater confidence about what employees know and can do, as well as a stronger voice to articulate their changing skills needs to the Government.

Some questions to think about for providing feedback:

  • Do you agree that the creation of Industry Skills Bodies would be a positive step in ensuring vocational education delivers to the needs of industry? What do you think these should be called – is “Industry Skills Bodies” the right name?

  • What do you think about the new roles proposed for industry, employers and education providers? How might they benefit employers and learners? What will the risks be? What is needed to help them work well?

  • The Government wants to help more employers get involved in the vocational education system. Do you think the proposed changes would achieve that? Why or why not?

  • Do employers need access to impartial advice on their training options, and help making the right connections with education providers? If so, how should this service be provided?

  • How could we best ensure that a New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology would deliver to the needs of New Zealand’s regions?

  • What kind of Regional Leadership Group structure might work best, and what other functions could these groups fulfil? What should the term for these regional groups be?

  • Do you believe that Regional Leadership Groups will be able to actively and representatively consider iwi and Māori interests? If not, what other vehicle or means of understanding Māori skills needs could be considered?

  • What do you think the Government needs to consider in designing a new funding system?

  • Are the suggested elements for a vocational education funding system the right ones? What might be missing?

  • How might different groups of employers be impacted by the proposals? In particular:
    What unique issues or opportunities arise for small and medium-sized enterprises in the proposed new system?
    What unique issues or opportunities arise for Māori enterprises in the proposed new system?