Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE)

General Points

While the changes are challenging, generally we are very pleased with the proposal and looking forward to delivering vocational training to support better lives through education for Te Tai Tokerau.
Our RoVE submission supported all three major proposals from the Ministry with the proviso that the needs of Tai Tokerau learners were met through sufficient regional autonomy and decision making around selection of and delivery of educational programmes.
The latest announcement aligns with our submission: a single Institute of Skills and Technology for NZ, the flowing together of the ITO and ITP training models, a change to the funding system and regional empowerment with the proposed Regional Leadership Group structure aligning closely with our existing Tai Tokerau Investment Planning Group (TRIP).

Seven Key Changes

The Minister focussed on seven key changes :

Change Aim What we know
Create Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) give industry greater leadership across VE established 1 Apr 2020, all WDCs running by Jun 2021.
Establish Regional Skills Leadership Groups (RSLGs) provide advice about skills needs of their regions to TEC, WDCs and local VE providers  
Establish Te Taumata Aronui reflect the commitment to Maori-Crown Partnerships 19-08 call for nominations
Create NZ Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST) bring together the existing 16 ITPs 05-08 Establishment Board
02-09 Establishment Unit in place
June 2023 fully operational
Shift the role of supporting on the job learning from ITOs to providers seamless integration between education and on the job training by end of 2022
Establish Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) grow VE provision and share quality curriculum and programme design 1-3 pilot CoVEs funded – Primary Industries and Construction announced
Unify VE funding system    


How it will affect NorthTec

For staff it is very much “business as usual” at least until the 1st April 2020 and then progressive changes will be implemented over the next 18 months. We will continue to enrol and deliver programmes with confidence that our regional role will grow over future years. 
The future role of International campuses has not been detailed. We expect some aspects of these to be consolidated under the NZIST. The Minister has stated that the numbers of International students will grow, and many will be located on regional campuses. We expect our strong relationships with our Chinese partnership schools to continue.
For now, the reforms won’t change anything for students – our students will continue to receive the high quality focussed education they have come to expect, all training can be completed at NorthTec and we encourage them to continue enrolling as normal for 2019 and 2020. 
A report commissioned by NorthTec to forecast the Northland job market until 2024 shows there will be 25,000 replacement and new jobs available by this date with over half of these in the medium to high skills category.
The report findings represent both a challenge and a great opportunity to build our skills to meet the needs of Northland employers.
Over 26,000 rangatahi are expected to enter the labour force in the next 10 years – it will be important to ensure they have the right skills to take advantage of these forecast job openings.
Maori are an untapped resource for the future critical skills shortages.  In Northland in 2018 Māori made up 33% of employment; higher than the New Zealand average of 15%.
A new vocational training approach will address critical future skills shortages in Northland.  There are major skill deficits in the current workforce and a need for people in work to upgrade their skills to meet the future needs of Northland.
We are combining with Apprenticeship training to better meet the demand for increasing levels in skills for many jobs. 
Training will be delivered using new flexible tools so people in work can “learn while they earn” such as small block courses or micro credentials, digital delivery through learning platforms, learning centres with facilitators and block courses.
NorthTec is utilising the approaches to Maori success produced by the new NZIST to close the education gaps. These include tikanga based pastoral support, embedding Maori learning styles and culture within NorthTec and new joint partnerships with Iwi for the delivery of VET training, especially in the mid and far north.
NorthTec’s new flexible tools combined with into work facilitation will help smooth the way into work for a large group of people who wish to re-enter the workforce but find themselves blocked by the lack of current skills.

School leavers have many opportunities and earning potential in Northland.  To support their learning journey, internships and job placements while learning may generate some income and smooth the transition to work.

NorthTec is reducing barriers to support learners through the journey to work with :

  • Pre-tertiary programmes for school leavers and NEETs
  • Extra assistance with individual learning plans for learners who need extra assistance
  • Student support navigators to provide guidance, counselling and help
  • Internships and job placements while learning to generate income and smooth the transition to work.

The implications for people in low population areas in Northland are enormous because they will be able to stay in their community and, in the future, have access to a wider range of programmes.
These new flexible tools will help to meet the critical skills shortages throughout regional Northland and start to deliver on the ‘promise’ – that Northland students can get high quality education in Northland.