RoVE – a vital part of New Zealand’s post-COVID economic recovery

RoVE – a vital part of New Zealand’s post-COVID economic recovery

Last updated 15 May 2020
Last updated 15 May 2020

David Strong, Director Reform of Vocational Education

As New Zealand went into Level 4 lockdown in March, the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) leadership group came together online to consider the implications of COVID-19 on our work.

We had a clear plan for 2020 and discussed where our work may need to focus and adapt, including how we will make this happen. I’m sure discussions like this were occurring across New Zealand, and the world. It was clear that we needed to think about how RoVE may be asked to support New Zealand’s recovery. 

In the following days it became apparent that rather than slowing down, what we are creating in RoVE was going to become more important. Increasing opportunities for industry and employers to be involved in vocational education, ensuring learners can access relevant and flexible education and training, supporting learners in their current training, and building skills in the regions are all crucial to supporting New Zealand and New Zealanders.

The Minister, through his clear direction and recent Budget announcements, reaffirmed that RoVE is vital to New Zealand’s economic recovery. This is addressed in the Government’s significant investment in vocational education and training. It recognises the importance of protecting work-based training wherever possible, supporting displaced workers and learners, and encouraging people to seek careers in industries that are most likely to lead our economic recovery.

We have also continued to engage with people in the vocational education sector, across industry, and in other Government departments – and their message repeatedly has been, “This is important. We want to stay involved, we want to keep going.”

During lockdown we did change our style of work to online workshops and meetings. Practical challenges aside, we found that across all our projects, people were engaged and positive, and I’d like to acknowledge and thank everyone who continued to contribute to our work. Collaboration has and will always be the foundation of our work.

I’d also like to acknowledge the sheer volume of thinking and work that the RoVE team and other education officials undertook in challenging circumstances, to support the Government with tangible and practical initiatives to aid all New Zealanders involved in vocational education or whose lives may have be disrupted by COVID-19.

The aspirations of RoVE are both necessary and achievable, more so now than ever. Through this Budget, and the work we have been doing since RoVE was announced in August 2019, we will continue to design and build a vocational education system that is flexible and responsive, unified and collaborative, fit for the future of work, and delivering the skills that learners, employers and communities need to thrive.

RoVE updates

Work has continued across all the RoVE projects. Find out more about Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) and the Regional Skills Leadership Groups (RSLGs) in this newsletter, or follow the links below to find out more about other projects.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA)

NZQA has implemented amendments to NZQA Rules to reflect the RoVE changes.

Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs)

The Registration of Interest evaluation process for both the Primary Sector and Construction CoVEs is now complete. The evaluation panels were impressed with the calibre of submissions, and shortlisted applicants were invited to the next stage to submit their final proposal.

Unified Funding System (UFS)

With a shift to online collaboration, the UFS project team continues to work with sector representatives to create a new unified funding system that is simple, relevant and responsive to learners and employers. The project is focusing on three new funding components: the Funding Category Component, the Learner Component, and the Strategic Component.

Taumata Aronui

Taumata Aronui has already held several meetings in person and online, and is becoming a vital voice representing Māori across the vocational education sector.