Kia ora,

The Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, yesterday announced his final decisions on the Review of Vocational Education (RoVE). This follows the release of the proposals back in February, a short period of consultation, and then an extended period of deliberation by officials from the Ministry of Education and the Tertiary Education Commission.

For our current employers and trainees, the key takeaways from the announcement are as follows:
  • The current 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) will be merged into the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST), which will be formed on 1 April 2020. For the first two years, the ITPs will operate as subsidiaries of the NZIST, before further consolidation.
  • 4-7 new Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) will be created, and will assume the standard setting responsibilities currently performed by Industry Training Organisations (ITOs). These will also be formed on 1 April 2020, and expected to be fully functioning by June 2021.
  • The support of workplace training and of trainees/apprentices will be transitioned from ITOs to the NZIST, but not expected to be completed until 31 December 2022.

For further information on the decisions, please go to the Ministry of Education website.

While naturally disappointed at the long-term outcome for ITOs, we are supportive of the reform objectives to create a stronger, more unified, sustainable vocational education system. Furthermore, we are fully committed to working in the best interests of our employers and trainees as the reforms are implemented, and are buoyed by the Ministers commitment to a slow and staged transition, with the full transition not expected to be completed until December 2022.

What does this all mean for Careerforce employers & trainees?

In the short to medium term, very little. The Minister has absolutely affirmed his commitment to workplace-based training, highlighting a ‘gravitational pull’ in this direction. He furthermore committed to long transition timeframes, with the initial priority being the establishment of the new NZIST and WDCs. He also emphasised his expectation for workplace based training to grow during the transition, and actively encouraged employers to continue to engage in training, in the comfort that transitions will be very carefully managed.

These reforms represent a generational change in vocational education, and we will be working closely with officials over coming months to jointly develop the reform implementation plans. Transition timeframes will vary across each ITO, and we will continue to provide you with regular updates, but can’t emphasise enough in the meantime that transition timeframes are long (over three years), and we should all continue with business as usual.

We encourage you to share this update with any of your employees currently undertaking industry training, and if you have any queries at all in the meantime, please contact your Careerforce advisor, or send us an email at

Ngā mihi

Jane Wenman
Chief Executive
Fiona Pimm
Board Chair

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