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Consultation on the Reform of Vocational Education proposals began on 13 February 2019 and closed on 5 April, with more than 2,900 submissions being received and officials attending approximately 190 events, meetings and forums all across New Zealand.

The Government sought input from all perspectives: learners, trainees and apprentices, employers, industry representatives and ITOs, education providers, Māori, iwi, Pacific people, disabled people, people with additional learning support needs, parents, other interested groups and the general public.

Outcome | Putanga

The Reform of Vocational Education is wide-ranging with a long-term focus.

The desired outcome will be a Vocational Education and Training (VET) system where:

  • learners get good educational and employment outcomes from vocational education and vocational education is responsive to learners’ needs, especially for Māori and Pacific peoples, people with disabilities and people with low levels of previous education
  • employers can recruit and develop skilled, productive employees
  • vocational education organisations support communities and regions to flourish
  • the system adapts to changes and to new educational models.

The reform project has been examining whether the system is meeting expectations and working with industry, education providers and the community on improvements.  

Scope | Awhe

The VET system is a critical part of New Zealand’s economic infrastructure. It provides people with the skills they need for their working lives, provides industry with the skilled workers needed to succeed, and communities with infrastructure for their economic development.

The purpose of the Reform of Vocational Education is to examine how the VET system meets the needs of learners, employers and communities, and the appropriate role of government in that system. 

Operation | Whakahaere

The Ministry of Education is leading the funding and regulatory strands of the Reform of Vocational Education project, while the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) is leading structural change. The agencies are working very closely together.

Origins of the Reform programme

As part of the wider national Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga, the Government is reforming the vocational education and training system. This is one of the four “big reviews” that form part of the Education Work Programme.

The Reform of Vocational Education brings together the original Review of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system, led by the Ministry, and the Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITP) Roadmap 2020 project, led by the Tertiary Education Commission, which looked at ways to secure a sustainable future for New Zealand’s institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs).

The original VET system review was organised around four key themes:

  1. A strong network of provision for all regions. 
  2. Work-based learning that adapts to a variety of needs.  
  3. A system that is effective for a diverse range of learners.  
  4. A system that supports, and is supported by, industry.   

Reform of Vocational Education will incorporate the aims of the ITP Roadmap 2020 to stabilise ITPs so they can deliver on New Zealand’s skills needs in coming decades and support development in the regions.

The ITP Roadmap project has focused on three areas:

  1. Investigating the problems facing ITPs.
  2. Analysis of the key opportunities for change.
  3. Identifying options for a sustainable future.