TVET is on the rise in line with New Zealand’s Business Growth Agenda

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In New Zealand, over 80% of 15-19 year olds are enrolled in tertiary education.  With tertiary education being widely available, nearly four in five New Zealanders have formal qualifications.  And it’s due, in no small way, to their commitment to training.

IMG_3919Vocational education on the rise

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) courses provide practical skills needed for the workplace.  These courses are more ‘hands-on’ than higher education programmes like Bachelor degrees, with many courses allowing overseas students to gain practical experience in a range of occupational fields.

Job-oriented education has increased considerably in New Zealand – and is still on the rise.  Today, international students planning to settle, take up courses on beauty, nursing, dental, journalism, designing, artwork and similar job-oriented programs to gain an income, right after completing their studies in the country.

Over three dozen training organisations

There are 39 Industry Training Organisations (ITO) in the country, which provide industry based training to students with varied qualifications.  The ITOs provide Vocational Education and Training (VET) training with one of the main channels of tertiary education in New Zealand.

The Industry Training Act focuses future students on the demands of the industry.  ITOs must provide on-the-job training and assess students based on standards and qualifications – as per the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

The Independent Tertiary Education New Zealand (ITENZ) is just one body dedicated to improving tertiary education.  The Association is the largest in the country, covering all areas of tertiary education uniting the private tertiary education (PTE) sector and Government.

New Zealand’s Tertiary Education Strategy

The Tertiary Education Strategy sets out the Government’s long-term strategic direction for tertiary education.  This strategy highlights the need to build international relationships that contribute to improved competitiveness, support business and innovation through development of relevant skills and research and improve outcomes for all.  The first steps to achieving these shifts are outlined in the strategy’s 6 priorities:

  1. Delivering skills for industry
  2. Getting at-risk young people into a career
  3. Boosting achievement
  4. Improving adult literacy and numeracy
  5. Strengthening research-based institutions
  6. Growing international linkages

There were substantial gains over the previous Tertiary Education Strategy.  Some highlights were strengthening the focus of the whole system on achievement and results for students, using the Youth Guarantee to engage more 15-19 year olds in education.IMG_3916

Consequently, this is strengthening the industry training system (including with new Maori and Pasifika trades training programmes), strengthening support for science and engineering provision, and continuing to support quality research.

The new Tertiary Education Strategy 2014-19 has been developed to build on this progress and contribute to the Government’s focus on improving New Zealand’s economic outcomes.

The “Building Skilled and Safe Workplaces” programme of the Government’s Business Growth Agenda aims to materially lift New Zealand’s long-run productivity growth rate while maintaining a high rate of labour force participation.

This demands tertiary education better equips individuals with the skills and qualifications needed to participate effectively in the labour market and in an innovative and successful New Zealand.

Workforce development supports business and skills growth in New Zealand and if you’d like to discuss how TVET can enable economic growth, please contact Wendy Perry via

November 2015




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