Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill

The Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill was introduced on 26 August 2019. It amends the Education Act 1989 and repeals the Industry Training and Apprenticeships Act 1992 in order to create a unified and cohesive vocational education and training system.

The Bill is part of the reform of vocational education announced on 1 August 2019.

This Bill:

  • establishes a new regulatory framework for vocational education and training
  • enables workforce development councils to be established
  • establishes the New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology
  • provides transitional arrangements to enable a smooth transfer of functions and responsibilities from the current to the new system.

A new regulatory framework for vocational education and training

The Bill will integrate vocational education and work-based training into one statute. It does this by amending the Education Act 1989, including integrating the provisions of the Industry Training and Apprenticeships Act 1992 then repealing it.

The Bill creates a unified and cohesive system of vocational education, by establishing new organisations. The roles of these bodies are set out below. The Bill amends functions and powers of existing bodies to reflect the new arrangements.

Workforce development councils

The Bill enables workforce development councils to be established by Order in Council for one or more industries. Workforce development councils will have functions of providing skills leadership, setting standards and developing qualifications, endorsing programmes and moderating assessments, and providing an advisory and representative role. This includes advising the Tertiary Education Commission about the mix of vocational education and training needed for their respective industries.

Industry training organisations (ITOs) are currently recognised by the Minister to develop and maintain skill standards for industry. The Bill provides that, after a period of transition, ITOs will no longer be recognised for this role.

The New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology

The Bill establishes the New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology (NZIST) to provide, arrange, and support a range of education and training, including in the workplace. All 16 polytechnics (known as institutes of technology and polytechnics) will become part of NZIST, as subsidiary companies initially.

The Bill includes a charter that NZIST must give effect to. The charter sets out how NZIST will be responsive to the needs of all regions of New Zealand, their learners, industries, employers and communities.

ITOs currently arrange or support training in the workplace, through a recognition process. The Bill provides that, after a period of transition, during which they will be called transitional ITOs, they will no longer be recognised for that role.

Transitional arrangements

The Bill has a commencement date of 1 April 2020, and specifies a transition period until 31 December 2022.

The Bill provides that:

  • students and staff of polytechnics will transfer to the subsidiaries of NZIST on 1 April 2020. Rights, assets and liabilities of polytechnics will become those of the corresponding subsidiaries of NZIST
  • when those subsidiaries are dissolved in due course, the undertaking of the subsidiary will transfer to NZIST, as will students, staff, rights, assets and liabilities
  • existing ITOs will be recognised by the Minister as transitional ITOs so that their activities can continue during transition
  • transitional ITOs will be required to develop transition plans detailing how their activities will transfer to workforce development councils and providers. Transitional ITOs must support providers in the transfer of responsibility
  • by the end of the transition period, recognition of all transitional ITOs will lapse, if it has not been cancelled prior to that.

The Ministry of Education has prepared a regulatory impact assessment to inform key policy decisions taken by Cabinet on the reforms.

Read the Ministry's Regulatory Impact Assessment for the Bill [PDF, 492 KB]

Read the Bill on the New Zealand Parliament website (external link)

The Bill has been referred to the Education and Workforce Committee.

Make a submission to the Committee (external link)

Read more about the Reform of Vocational Education - Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga website (external link)

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