Reform of Vocational Education


Six new industry-led and governed Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) are being established that will set a vision for the skills and training needed for Aotearoa’s workforce, and influence the vocational education and training system.

Over the last few months, industry-led interim Establishment Boards have been working with the Tertiary Education Commission and industry sectors, peak bodies, educators, Māori business and industry, to engage and provide advice to develop draft content for WDC Order in Council proposals.

The consultation on the WDC Order in Council proposals provides a further opportunity for industry, and others interested in vocational education and training from an industry and employer perspective, to Kōrero mai and have a say. The Tertiary Education Commission would like feedback on each WDC’s name, the industries it covers, and how it’s governed.

Go to to have your say. Consultation closes 5 February 2021.


Interim Establishment BoardS formed - 1 JULY 2020

The six interim Establishment Boards (iEBs) have now been formed. The iEBs will develop the Order in Council establishing the future governance arrangements and determining the process for appointing the Workforce Development Council Boards. MITO Board Chair Andrew Clearwater has been been appointed to the Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics iEB. The formation of each WDC is mandated to occur by 30 June 2021.


Workforce Development Councils fast-tracked - 20 MAY 2020

The establishment of the six Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) originally mandated to occur by 30 June 2021 has been fast-tracked to be formed by October this year. The Government has stated that fast-tracking all six WDCs will ensure that they are an integral part of the designing the response to COVID-19 and that their influence in the vocational education and training system will become more immediate.

The primary role of each interim Establishment Board will be to establish the WDC as a legal entity. Where possible, they will work with transitional Industry Training Organisations, the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology and other providers to provide advice and guidance to inform tertiary education system responses to COVID-19 impacts.

The Tertiary Education Commission is seeking Expressions of Interest from industry leaders between Monday 18 May and 2 June, to form the interim Establishment Board for each of the six WDCs. All six interim Establishment Boards will be appointed by the Commission in June.

View more information at .


Reform of Vocational Education formally commenced - 6 April 2020

On Wednesday 1 April 2020, the Reform of Vocational Education formally commenced under the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Act 2020.

MITO is now a Transitional Industry Training Organisation (TITO), a new definition that enables MITO to maintain our current capability until the Workforce Development Councils are established and a provider has taken on our responsibilities for arranging training.

The New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST) is now official, with the 16 existing Institutes of Technology & Polytechnics (ITPs) now subsidiaries.

Due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, RoVE officials acknowledge that the implementation of RoVE may possibly take longer.



On 17 December 2019, the Minister of Education, Hon Chris Hipkins, confirmed the structure of the Workforce Development Councils (WDCs), a key component of the Government’s Reform of Vocational Education, designed to give industry greater leadership across vocational education and training.

Under the new system, the WDC responsibilities will include: providing skills leadership for their industries; providing advice to the Tertiary Education Commission on funding decisions; setting standards for qualifications, unit standards and other skill standards; endorsing programmes that lead to qualifications and providing employers with brokerage and advisory services. WDCs won’t be directly involved with arranging training.  

What will the new structure look like?

Six industry-led WDCs will be established:

  • Manufacturing, Engineering, Logistics and Technology
  • Creative, Cultural and Recreation
  • Primary Industries
  • Service Industries
  • Health, Community and Social Services
  • Construction and Infrastructure.

MITO’s current industry coverage will sit within the Manufacturing, Engineering, Logistics and Technology WDC, joining other industries that are currently supported by Competenz, NZMACITO, Primary ITO and Service IQ, plus some ICT qualifications developed by NZQA.

There will be no change to the services and support our employers, learners, industry associations and other key stakeholders receive from our organisation throughout the transition.

Next steps

Early next year there will be further engagement on the WDC establishment process supporting WDCs to identify their governance arrangements and Board appointment process.

MITO will work collaboratively with our industry representatives, Government officials, Competenz, NZMACITO, Primary ITO and Service IQ to ensure a seamless transition to the Manufacturing, Engineering, Logistics and Technology WDC.

We will provide further updates as they come to hand.

Further information

The Minister’s media release PDF - 241 KB

Please email any questions you may have to:



On 1 August, the Minister of Education, Hon Chris Hipkins, formally announced the outcomes of the proposed Reform of Vocational Education.

The objective of the new system is to create a strong, unified, sustainable vocational education system that delivers the skills that learners, employers and communities need to thrive. 

The outcomes have a significant impact on how vocational education will be managed and delivered in the coming years, and your ongoing interaction with MITO.  

Summary of Changes

In summary:

  • The New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST) will be formed on 1 April 2020, with each of the 16 polytechnics becoming a subsidiary of the Institute for up to two years, before full consolidation. 
  • Commencing on 1 April 2020, four to seven Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) will be formed. The standard-setting role will move from ITOs to the WDCs over the period of 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2021.
  • ITO apprentices and learners will transition to the NZIST by 31 December 2022. Transition arrangements are likely to be phased. It is yet unknown when MITO’s transition will occur.

Below is documentation from the Government relating to today’s announcement.

RoVE Decisions Brochure Summary of Changes 1 Aug 2019 PDF - 1.1 MB

RoVE Decisions Detailed Summary of Changes 1 August 2019 PDF - 592 KB

Infosheet Trainees and Apprentices Reform of Vocational Education PDF - 391 KB

What’s next?

The Minister has emphasised that the reforms will take time and the transition will be carefully managed. So, it’s business as usual for the MITO team! 

We will continue to promote our training programmes and career pathways to ensure our industries gain new talent and qualified people, and we will remain totally focused on supporting our learners, employers, secondary schools and other stakeholders. You will remain our top priority as we move through the transition to the new vocational education system.

Email us your questions

We encourage you to email any questions you may have to: