New era for vocational education

New era for vocational education

Last updated 21 February 2020
Last updated 21 February 2020

The Government’s work to put trades and vocational education back on the agenda has taken another major step forward with the passing of the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill.


Chris Hipkins, Minister of Education

Hon. Chris Hipkins, Minister of Education

Passing the Bill is a watershed for trades and vocational education. These law changes formalise the process of creating a strong, unified, sustainable system to set us up to respond to skills shortages and prepare for the future of work.

With the Government recently announcing a $12 billion infrastructure programme, there has never been a better time to enter trades and vocational training.

For years New Zealand has faced serious skills shortages across many industries. The construction industry alone needs 80,000 workers in the next five years and the current system is not set up to handle the demand.

For historical reasons however, the current system discourages collaboration. 

With these changes we’re bringing all parts of the system together for the first time in 30 years.

We’re creating a system that is simple to understand and navigate, responsive to the needs of learners and employers, and flexible enough to keep changing and evolving as the world around us changes and evolves.

This Bill, along with the work happening outside Parliament to create workforce development councils, centres of vocational excellence, a new vocational education funding system, and to promote vocational education in schools and the community, is a testament to the ability of New Zealanders to work together in pursuit of the common good.

We will continue to work with industry sectors and training organisations, the institutes of technology and polytechnics that will become part of Te Pūkenga on 1 April, students, unions, whānau and communities to complete the task of building a better system of vocational education and training.