What is RoVE and How Will It Change the Educational and Training System in New Zealand?

On 1 April 2020, the Government implemented the Reform of Vocational Education or RoVE, with the purpose of creating a “strong, unified, sustainable vocational education system” that is able to support and deliver the skills necessary for all employers, learners, and communities to thrive.

RoVE includes seven key changes that affect both Industry Training Organisations (ITOs), as well as Private Training Establishments (PTEs), which include providers of specialised training courses. These changes include the following:

  1. The creation of Workforce Development Councils or WDCs. Beginning 1 April 2020, ITOs will become transitional ITOs and their roles will be transferred to six WDCs. In turn, WDCs will be responsible for setting standards and qualifications for the industries assigned to them. They will also be responsible for all work in related industries and sectors. The ultimate goal is to establish greater industry leadership in vocational education.
  2. The establishment of Te Taumata Aronui. This group will help ensure that the RoVE reflects the Government’s commitment to Māori Crown partnerships.
  3. The creation of Te Pūkenga, a public national network that will provide regionally accessible vocational education and training. It will include all the existing 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics or ITPs and will eventually integrate work-based learning and training into a centralised vocational education system.
  4. The establishment of Regional Skills Leadership Groups. They will serve to advise the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and other relevant groups about the skills needs of their regions in order to receive the assistance necessary to fulfill those said needs.
  5. The establishment of CoVEs or Centres of Vocational Excellence. CoVEs bring together Te Pūkenga, WDCs, researchers, and industry experts and providers to help cultivate high-quality vocational education provisions, curricula, and programme design.
  6. The unification of the vocational education funding system for vocational education. These include industry training, as well as provider-based and work-integrated education at qualification levels 3 to 7 (certificates and diplomas). The fund will ensure that providers will have ample support and that learners will receive proper training to help them succeed.
  7. The transition of the role of ITOs to Te Pūkenga and other providers. Once the transition is complete, these groups will take over the administration and support roles of ITOs. In addition, Te Pūkenga and other tertiary education organisations are expected to provide workplace-based on-the-job training and deliver provider-based education and training in off-the-job settings.

What Does RoVE Mean for ITOs?

During the transition, which is projected to last until December 2022, ITOs will operate as they have. However, over this period, transition ITOs will transfer their functions to other groups.

The most important of these functions are (1) the administration of support of workplace learning, which will be handled by tertiary education providers, and (2) standard setting, which will be handled by WDCs (see number 1 in the list above). The WDCs will also be tasked to support the industries to future-proof New Zealand’s workforce.

The six WDCs are the following:

  1. Construction and Infrastructure
  2. Creative, Cultural and Recreation
  3. Health, Community and Social Services
  4. Manufacturing, Engineering, Logistics and Technology
  5. Primary Industries
  6. Service Industries

These WDCs are expected to be fully established and functioning in the third quarter of 2021.

Note that WDCs will take over only some of the key functions of the transitional ITOs. Other functions, such as arranging apprenticeships and on-the-job training, will not be included in the scope of work.

What will be included are functions such as providing skills leadership, giving advice to TEC regarding funding, and offering brokerage and advisory services to employers. WDCs will also be endorsing programmes for approval and funding, so long as they meet industry qualifications.

What Does RoVE Mean for PTEs?

For PTEs, RoVE would mean that they would have a bigger responsibility in supporting work-based education and training that incorporate industry-approved standards. With the unified funding system for vocational education, this particular goal will be easier to achieve. Ultimately, RoVE aims that PTEs would be able to support more learners.

In addition, RoVE will help providers in delivering on-job and provider-based education. More importantly, they will be empowered to provide a more holistic development service to employers, from pre-employment training to professional development.

These, in turn, will be beneficial for both learners and employers. The former will be fully equipped with the knowledge and skill they need to be one step closer to the career of their dreams; the latter, on the other hand, will be working with highly effective, productive individuals.

In Conclusion

RoVE’s ultimate goal is to ensure that New Zealand’s workforce has skills and competencies that are valuable not just today but also in the future. Through RoVE, both learners and employers get the support they need to meet their goals.

For learners, RoVE will provide not just training support but also relevant vocational education. This way, they will be better equipped to handle jobs in their desired industry. Moreover, learners will be able to move from region-to-region or between work-based and provider-based training with ease. As such, they’ll be able to pursue their training even if their current employment situation changes.

Meanwhile, for employers, RoVE will enable them to provide not just more and better employee support but also consistent vocational education. With work-integrated learning becoming more relevant in vocational education, RoVE will enable employers to give people more opportunity and flexibility to learn and earn at the same time.

In the long term, more employers will be able to provide vocational education that can easily adapt to the ever-changing needs of a competitive job market.

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