Budget 2021 includes a big funding injection for tertiary vocational education and training.

This commitment to support employers and trainees to get the skills that they need now and in the future, is a crucial part of the Government’s plan for the recovery from COVID-19.

We need to equip people with the right skills and support, and work with industries and communities to make sure New Zealand’s workforce is fit for today’s needs and tomorrow’s expectations.

The investment announced yesterday will provide more money for learners, encourage more workplace-based education and support a skilled workforce that in turn supports employers to grow and businesses to succeed.

The Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) is the largest and most complex change to our vocational education and training system in a generation. That’s why Budget 2021 has invested $279.5 million to support this change and build towards a more unified system.

We’re also building a better future through increased funding rates for apprentices and other work-based industry trainees; supporting the success of traditionally under-served learners through equity funding; and reducing barriers for learners and employers alike. More details on these changes are further on in this newsletter.

Last week we reached a significant milestone for RoVE with the formal establishment of the Workforce Development Councils by Order in Council.  WDCs have a vital role in ensuring we have a workforce with the right skills for a prosperous future. As new national industry-led bodies, my intention is for the WDCs to begin work as soon as possible.

The WDCs can be viewed on the New Zealand Legislation website for:

Community, Health, Education and Social Services

Hanga-Aro-Rau (MEL)

Muka Tangata (People, Food and Fibre)


Toi Mai

Waihanga Ara Rau (Construction and Infrastructure)

The Orders will come in to effect on or about 11 June.

I want to acknowledge the contribution that the interim Establishment Boards have made and the depth of knowledge and consideration that they brought to developing the Workforce Development Councils. Their insights have been crucial in working though how WDCs will operate and how they will ensure the needs of industry and employers are met through the qualifications and skills they set.

I’m looking forward to the introduction of the new WDC Boards in the middle of the year – this will be time to begin the new way of working and to acknowledge those who helped us get here.

There is an enormous amount of other work occurring across the vocational sector to support the RoVE changes. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who continues to help us bring the reforms to life. We are now seeing an increasing number of apprentices and students benefiting from free trades training, and this sets us up well for the future and marks really good progress in the work done so far.

For more information: Budget 2021 delivers on education plan

Hon Chris Hipkins

Minister of Education