New SNSF Project on Vocational Education and Training in New Zealand

Vocational education and training (VET) in New Zealand is currently undergoing a radical change. The current reform (ROVE), which began in 2019, has not yet been completed. A key measure was the foundation of the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (Te Pūkenga), which divides the nation’s 16 polytechnics into four regional centres and extends their role in the field of basic education and training. The study analyses VET structures in New Zealand and the economy’s view on how they are organised.

A woman on a road crew operates a stop sign at a hazard area on a rural road in Canterbury, New Zealand
Adobe Stock/Sheryl

New Zealand urgently requires specialists in various occupational fields. However, until now vocational training – in terms of its equivalent to the Swiss apprenticeship - is placed at level 4 in the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). Apprenticeships are primarily available in the trades and construction industry. This is set to change with the intention that VET programmes will include more workplace or work-integrated learning. A national reform of the VET system and the associated extensive reconstitution of the participating institutions represents a huge challenge for all stakeholders in the system. The New Zealand universities have also recognised that more must be done to improve the employability of their graduates and the first work-integrated programmes or courses have been developed. The trend towards more real work experience in the context of tertiary-level education continues.

Prof. Dr. Antje Barabasch analyses the governance of New Zealand’s vocational education and training (VET) system in this new SNSF research project. The study also aims to provide an insight into how practical and theoretical learning can be better aligned and which types of technology could provide support.