RoVE = The Government’s Reform of Vocational Education

At the start of August, the Government announced how it will reorganise New Zealand’s polytechnics, institutes of technology and industry training organisations. At Primary ITO we are fielding questions from both employers and trainees as to how this will affect them, so it’s important that we keep you updated as the biggest changes to your qualification system unfold over the next few years.

Will this affect our training system in the immediate future? Simply put, no. Primary ITO will continue to enrol trainees and apprentices, arrange training and develop new programmes. The Government has stressed that nothing is changing for learners and they should continue to enrol in 2019 and 2020. Right now, it’s business as usual. It is also encouraging that the Minister of Education says he wants to see more workplace training – not less.

The work Primary ITO does is likely to move to two new organisations. Firstly, around 4-7 new “Workforce Development Councils” will replace the existing industry training organisations in setting standards, designing training programmes, and identifying skills needs in industry. Primary ITO is working closely with industry and government on the new WDC for the primary industries.

Secondly, the Government has decided to create one entity (the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology) to deliver polytechnic training across the whole of New Zealand. This is to take over from the current 16 polytechnics and institutes of technology. The Government says that Private Training Establishments (PTEs) such as the New Zealand Sports Turf Institute will remain key players that provide choice for industries. Under the decision, PTEs will need to operate within the standards set by WDCs. “They will also be able to gain responsibility for supporting workplace learning,” the decision document says. “Many PTEs are already well-positioned to do this, with strong track records in supporting workplace training and with good employer relationships.”

Primary ITO acknowledges that the changes do create some uncertainty, but we will have contracts in place with providers to ensure continuity of training for the foreseeable future.

Our field team who arrange and support your training are likely at some stage to move to the training providers but still do a similar role. There might be a different logo on their car and shirt, but the person could be the same.

Primary ITO is not going anywhere anytime soon. We represent nearly one in five of all industry trainees and around 30 primary industry groups. The changes have a lengthy timeframe where we will continue to support trainees and develop programmes. The changes from the Government will still need industry leadership for training, and Primary ITO is well-placed to contribute to the new Workforce Development Council.