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Frequently asked questions

We have collated responses to our most commonly asked questions. If you don't find the answer to your questions, we'd love to hear from you.

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About Te Pūkenga

Who we are

What does the name Te Pūkenga mean?

Te Pūkenga translates in reo Māori as ‘to be proficient or skilled in particular roles.’

What is Te Pūkenga?

Te Pūkenga is a new organisation bringing together Aotearoa New Zealand’s Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) and the arranging training activities of certain Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) into one unified vocational education and training network.

Te Pūkenga will provide a flexible combination of on-the-job, on campus and online learning to meet the needs of learners and employers.

What are the main differences between Te Pūkenga and the previous system of Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics and Industry Training Organisations?

Te Pūkenga is bringing together a national network of integrated learning that supports learners, employers and communities to gain the skills, knowledge, and capabilities Aotearoa New Zealand needs now and for the future.

Our goal is to harness the best of campus and work-based learning delivery and bring them together in a way that is better for the employers, ākonga (learners) and communities we serve.

What makes Te Pūkenga unique and different?

Te Pūkenga is Aotearoa New Zealand’s largest tertiary education provider delivering vocational skills training throughout the country.

We are changing the model moving from regionally focused, competing providers to create a more flexible, cohesive and sustainable system that better meets the needs of learners, their communities, iwi and industry – now and in the future.

Vocational education provides real world learning connected to industry preparing learners for high value careers in essential fields. We take great pride in connecting graduates to employment and providing opportunities for you to upskill while you’re in the workforce.

Will small providers, industries and communities have a voice in this large organisation?

One of the concerns we have heard from smaller regions and industries is that their voice might be lost or diminished, particularly due to the larger groupings of sectors within Workforce Development Councils and larger regions.

Te Pūkenga is committed to listening to our stakeholders.

We are also required through our Charter to:

  • meet the needs of regions by offering a mix of education and training, including on-the-job, face-to-face, and distance delivery that is accessible to the learners of that region and meets the needs of its learners, industries, and communities
  • be regionally responsive, including making decisions that are informed by local relationships
  • develop meaningful partnerships with industry, including Māori and Pacific employers, smaller employers, niche sectors and local communities.
How does Te Pūkenga get funded?

Under VOTE Education, we are funded by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) based on the number of learners in the system. 

Where we come from

Where we come from

Te Pūkenga is bringing together Aotearoa New Zealand’s 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics and the arranging training activities of nine Industry Training Organisations (in whole or in part).

The 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics are Ara Institute of Canterbury, Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT), Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT), Northland Polytechnic (NorthTec), Open Polytechnic, Otago Polytechnic, Southern Institute of Technology (SIT), Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, Tai Poutini Polytechnic (TPP), Universal College of Learning (UCOL), Unitec, Whitireia Community Polytechnic, Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec), Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec), and Western Institute of Technology (WITT).

The nine Industry Training Organisations are Competenz (excluding the activities of ATNZ), Connexis, BCITO, MITO, Service IQ, Careerforce, HITO, PrimaryITO and certain programmes and sectors from Skills (not including the Skills trade name).

What happens to the values / kaupapa of each provider? Do they change and if so what to?

We are currently engaging with each business division to kōrero on our organisational values, specifically on how we give life to Te Pūkenga values while respecting the legacy of our business divisions. We are comfortable working cooperatively on an approach that works for both groups.

What is the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE)?

The Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) aims to create a strong, unified vocational education and training system that is fit for the future of work and delivers the skills that learners, employers, and communities need to thrive.

It includes seven key changes, one of which is the creation of Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology.

The new system puts learners back at the centre and it will have a stronger focus on employers: delivering the skills they need, providing more support for those in work-based training, and ensuring greater consistency in vocational learning across the country.

Learners will receive more support while they are training, and their knowledge and skills will be more relevant to what industry needs. In time they will be able to move more easily between regions and between on-the-job, on campus, and online training.

The changes reflect the Government’s commitment to Māori-Crown partnership.

Learning with us


Where do I learn? Can I start learning at one location and change to another easily?

The intention of Te Pūkenga is to open up more learning options, in more locations to more learners – and enable learners to move seamlessly between locations and modes – on-campus, online or on-the-job.

This will take time to realise fully, but you’ll start to see changes from 2023. If you’re enrolled in one of our nationally consistent programmes, you’ll be able to move more easily and continue your study at another location.

More changes will come in future years as we start to realise the changes. At this stage, we’re focused on setting the foundations to deliver our vision of all learners succeeding.

Will the semester dates be the same across all Te Pūkenga campuses?

Initially there will be differences. These may change over time as we move towards a more unified network.

If I have applied or started study with a Polytechnic or Industry Training Organisation does that mean I’m a Te Pūkenga learner?


Does Te Pūkenga offer online programmes?

Yes. You can use our ‘Find your path’ tool to look at our online options.

Will there be a learner representation body for Te Pūkenga? How will this be organised? Will there be one for each location or will there be a national council?

Te Pūkenga Interim Learner Advisory Committee was established in 2021. The Advisory Committee provides advice to Council. A member of this committee also sits on Te Pūkenga Council.

A permanent Learner Advisory Committee will be elected in late 2023 and includes regional representatives.

Te Pūkenga has also established a national Learner Leadership Group made up of locally elected leaders (e.g. student council or association president, chair, or representatives) and appointed work-based learners. These learner leaders represent you and your local learner groups. Individual learners can continue to share feedback and raise issues with their local groups.

Te Pūkenga is currently working alongside local student councils, national student associations, unions, and independent student voice to develop and implement a stronger learner voice ecosystem to ensure learner voice is informing all levels of the organisation and that learners are supported by, and connected to, a wide network of learner groups.

What will happen to learners already part way through a training programme?

Existing learners will continue to be supported in their learning through to its completion.


What will I graduate with? What will it say on my certificate, diploma or degree?

In 2023, if you are part way through your qualification, you will be awarded your qualification by Te Pūkenga and your certificate will be co-branded with Te Pūkenga and the institution you began your learning journey with. Learners who start a qualification in 2023 will be awarded Te Pūkenga certification.

How reputable will my Te Pūkenga qualification be in the job market?

Te Pūkenga ākonga (learners) graduate with the strength and credibility of the country’s largest tertiary provider behind them. Plus, you’ll be even better connected to industry and their needs through Te Pūkenga involvement with employers nationally, as well as on-the-job learning opportunities, so your employment opportunities will be better than ever.

Is the qualification I get from Te Pūkenga to the same standard as those issued by Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics and Industry Training Organisations?


How will Te Pūkenga ensure the continuity and consistency of training?

The unification of programmes ensures the same knowledge and skills are taught throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. Unified programmes will be developed. The moderation functions of Workforce Development Councils and Te Pūkenga internal quality assurance and moderation will ensure consistent delivery across the motu.

What does the end of Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics issuing qualifications mean for the status of the degrees, diplomas and certificates issued by those institutes previously?

This change does not impact the standing of existing qualifications.

Will Te Pūkenga only cover vocational training at Levels 3-5, and where do degrees stand in the new operating model?

Te Pūkenga network will continue to deliver qualifications from Levels 1 to 10 of the New Zealand Qualifications and Credentials Framework (NZQCF).

Fees and scholarships

Will the fees be the same for every course across the country?

A process is underway to unify fees across our Network. As we unify programmes, a unified fee for each programme will be set. This means that the tuition fee will be the same across the country for that unified programme.  It does not mean that the tuition fee will be the same for everything Te Pūkenga offers – even when unified some programmes will be more and less than others.

Over time we will also be undertaking work on existing fee discounts and other fees (such as course-related costs and student services levies) to ensure we have consistent and equitable application of discounts and other fees across the country. Until that work is undertaken, your local provider will still apply any existing discounts (including to unified programmes) and other fees.

Will scholarships previously granted by former ITPs and ITOs be honoured by Te Pūkenga?

All scholarships granted will be honoured by Te Pūkenga.


How do I enrol or re-enrol?

For 2023, you can continue to contact your local provider and enrol in or signup for a course or qualification. New learners will be enrolled by Te Pūkenga but this will be managed locally.

Support for learners

How will Te Pūkenga support Māori and Pacific ākonga (learners) better?

There is work already happening to address gaps that exist for better supporting all learners to succeed with us. Te Pūkenga has adopted an Equity and Ākonga Success Strategy which provides a roadmap for what we must address over the next 10 years. You can read more about some of the new initiatives we have underway across Aotearoa here.

Are women a group that we can better support with learning and training?

We will continue work to support women working in all industries, especially the trades where their representation in the workforce has traditionally been small.

Te Pūkenga will work alongside employers to ensure they have the tools and knowledge to create appropriate work-based learning environments for women. There is a Work Based Learning collaboration project in place for 2022 which has begun addressing common issues that women face in learning and training. The research for the project commenced in August 2022.

How will Te Pūkenga support and monitor workplaces that are not good places to work?

We work closely with Industry Associations and employers. There is a lot we undertake to assess potential employers prior to a learner beginning an apprenticeship, and this starts with our training advisors partnering and working closely with our employers as through a thorough vetting process.

We are also strengthening learner voice channels across our network including work-based learners.

Our partners


How will the employers voice be heard in the new qualifications that are being undertaken, and the scaling down from 3,000 programmes?

The industry and employers will, through the Workforce Development Councils, determine what their qualification and skill needs are, and providers will be funded to deliver those programmes. Te Pūkenga will determine how those programmes are put together and will consult widely with employers/industry and kaimahi (staff) as programmes are developed or changed.  

How will Te Pūkenga manage needs for learners to attend block courses and be on-the-job?

We will continue to support employers to provide on-the-job training in their workplace. We ensure learners also have access to learning that cannot occur on-the-job. To balance this, we communicate and work with both learners and employers to ensure the training plan delivers successful outcomes.

By bringing together campus and work-based learning, we build on the strengths of both systems.

How can employers and industry contribute to programme and qualification development?

Through Workforce Development Councils, employers will be involved in the development of the qualification and skills standards required. Through Te Pūkenga, employers will be involved in developing the programme and content that will deliver the qualification. Support will also be provided to employers and those who support them and the learners (e.g. training advisers) to help them coach and mentor better.

Can people be mentors, verifiers, trainers, accessors and what can/can’t they do?

There are currently numerous models used across the vocational education and training system on how each of these functions is undertaken. Often these arrangements have been developed over many years to reflect how an industry or a particular employer prefers to operate. The key is to continue to ensure we have the right people undertaking their roles to retain the integrity of the system as each of these (mentors, verifiers, trainer, accessors etc) have specific requirements. 

Regional Skills Leadership Groups (RSLGs)

What are Regional Skills Leadership Groups?

The 15 Regional Skills Leadership Groups (RSLGs) are independent advisory groups that are locally based and regionally led. They identify and support better ways to meet future skills and workforce needs in their regions, both now and in the future, and advise on actions to address these.

RSLGs are part of a joined-up approach to labour market planning that will see our workforce, education and immigration systems working together to better meet the differing skills needs across the motu. They are a fundamental part of the drive to build productive, inclusive, sustainable and resilient regions.

How does Te Pūkenga work with RSLGs?

Te Pūkenga is organising itself so that we can be responsive to the needs of regions – and that means we need to work with RSLGs. Our regions will reflect the regions of the RSLGs so that each RSLG has a single point of contact with Te Pūkenga.

Secondary school system

How will Te Pūkenga connect with kura, schools and future learners?

Our connection with kura and schools is critical to create a clear vocational pathway from secondary school through to tertiary education. We recognise that these conversations need to begin at intermediate level. Te Pūkenga is working with the Ministry of Education on how to best connect with the secondary school system to reflect the options and opportunities offered by a vocational career.

There are good programmes operating within schools to support industry e.g. great training grounds like STAR, Gateway, Trades Academy and the Pathways Advisory Group. Will Te Pūkenga keep these programmes alive?

Yes, and the more we can mainstream these programmes and integrate them into the school system, the better chance we have of establishing vocational pathways that are more transparent and accessible and seen as a genuine career option.  

Workforce Development Councils (WDCs)

How are Workforce Development Councils structured?

There are six Workforce Development Councils structured by industry groups in line with the six vocational pathways that are used in secondary schools:

  1. Waihanga Ara Rau - Construction and Infrastructure
  2. Toi Mai - Creative, Cultural Recreation & Technology
  3. Muka Tangata – People, Food & Fibre
  4. Ringa Hora - Services
  5. Toitū te Wairoa – Community, Health, Education & Social Services
  6. Hanga-Aro-Rau – Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics
How will qualifications and skill needs be identified for each industry?

Te Pūkenga, Industry and employers will work with Workforce Development Councils (WDC) to identify the qualifications and skills that their industry sectors need. WDCs will be responsible for developing qualifications in collaboration with others, which will be  registered on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework. Te Pūkenga and other providers will develop a programme of study/learning (with associated resources) to meet the requirements of each qualification. We will work with industry, employers, and communities to ensure that how the programme is developed and delivered suits their needs.

Operating Model

About the Operating Model

What is the organisation structure working to achieve?

The proposed structure shows how we will progress with creating a new organisation that delivers a national network that is regionally responsive, meets the needs of ākonga and employers, and achieves equity for Māori.

Why do we need a new structure?

We are doing this to ensure Te Pūkenga is a national vocational and applied education provider that builds on the strengths of our vocational education network across Aotearoa New Zealand.

What does it mean for me?

How will the changes affect ākonga (learners) now?

The changes are being introduced gradually and carefully. You won’t notice many changes in 2023 – you’ll be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, but you’ll still be enrolled in the same qualification, and you'll continue to learn in the same way, in the same place, with the same people. Fees will stay the same and your relationships with organisations such as StudyLink will also stay the same. 

How will the changes affect ākonga (learners) in the future?

As the changes are introduced, you’ll gain access to a greater range of high-quality learning options including on-the-job, on-campus and online. Over time, it will become easier to move between these options and move to another part of Aotearoa New Zealand to learn, without it affecting the qualifications you’re training for. 

People living in remote parts of Aotearoa New Zealand will have more opportunities to learn online. You’ll also be able to access an online careers pathway platform.

There will also be more support to help you achieve your goals. You’ll be able to access more wellbeing and mentoring services and create meaningful connections and interactions from your very first days of learning.

How will the changes affect Māori and Pacific ākonga (learners)?

One of the aims of the changes is to prioritise ākonga who haven’t been well-served by the previous system. These ākonga include Māori and Pacific.

The new system aims to give Māori and Pacific ākonga better access to quality education that meets their needs.

Learning environments will increasingly reflect our Te Tiriti o Waitangi relationship. Māoritanga during the learning journey will become commonplace with increased access to learning within kaupapa Māori spaces over time.

The changes also give Māori business and iwi development a much stronger voice. 

How will the changes affect disabled ākonga (learners) or those with extra learning needs?

One of the aims of the changes is to prioritise ākonga who weren’t well-served by the previous system, including disabled ākonga and ākonga with extra learning needs. Inclusiveness will be at the core of the new system and the changes will make vocational education more accessible.

A National Disability Action Plan has been developed and will start being implemented in 2023. Regional disability action plans will also be developed and implemented. These plans set out priorities for ensuring equitable outcomes for disabled ākonga no matter where they are.

Over time there will be stronger ties between education providers and schools, and between providers and employers. This will help with education and employment pathways for disabled ākonga. Connections with support staff and ākonga networks will also be fostered. 

A long-term ‘Equity and Ākonga Success Strategy will be in place to promote success for all Te Pūkenga ākonga. You’ll start to see an increased focus on holistic wellbeing for ākonga (inclusive of whānau), no matter where you are.

Will Te Pūkenga ākonga (learners) be covered by the Pastoral Care Code for tertiary learners, even if they’re learning on the job?

From the start of 2022, all registered tertiary providers who enrol ākonga are required to comply with NZQA’s Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021, including those hosting work-based ākonga.

The Code supports the wellbeing of all tertiary and international ākonga and residents enrolled with New Zealand education providers, by setting out everything that education providers must do to ensure the wellbeing and safety of ākonga. NZQA have produced videos for ākonga to help them know the Code.

How will the changes affect international learners?

You’ll experience the changes across the network that affect all learners – including more wellbeing and support options and more ways in which learner voice will be heard and acted upon.

From 2023, Te Pūkenga International Strategy will be in place, reflecting your reality as an international learner. You’ll experience ‘manaakitanga’ no matter where you learn within Te Pūkenga network. ‘Manaakitanga’ is a powerful way of expressing how Māori communities care about each other’s wellbeing, nurture relationships and engage with one another.

You’ll continue to access services that you currently access as an international learner.

International learners will be represented at the governance level on Te Pūkenga permanent learner advisory committee.

How will the changes affect employers now?

We will continue to be business as usual. Learners will get the same qualifications and receive the same service they get from the same people they work with now. There will be no disruption to what works well in the current system while we, in conjunction with the Workforce Development Councils, continue to work with businesses and industry to identify issues that impact them.

From the beginning and increasingly over time, employers and industry will be true partners in delivering a quality learning experience that is valued by all and attracts more employers to become involved.

How will the changes affect employers in the future?

Over time, we will work toward customise solutions that fit with individual business needs. This will mean products, support options and learning tools will be available to support you to train your people.

Apprenticeships and on-the-job training will continue to be a priority. Multi-modal/flexible learning will allow us to address real-life industry problems in our academic curriculum. We will be better equipped to tackle Aotearoa New Zealand’s skills shortage and proactively address the future needs of the industries we work with. Employers and industry will be true partners in delivering a quality learning experience that is valued by all.

More than half of Te Pūkenga ākonga (learners) are in work-based learning. Industry is critical to the success of our vocational education system, and so collaboration with industry is important to us.

Six industry-governed Workplace Development Councils) have been created to give industry a strong leadership role in vocational education and training, and ensure learners gain the right skills for the right jobs. The councils’ responsibilities include giving investment advice, identifying current and future skills needs, developing qualifications, and setting standards.

Regions will also be given more say in planning for the work skills they need.

The transition and integration of many different parts to a new cohesive system will be gradual and carefully managed.

Transition arrangements

What are the key milestones of transition?

The transition process will have four major stages:​

  1. Dissolving the subsidiaries and moving their people and operations into Te Pūkenga as they are.​
  2. Setting the foundation for the new organisation by describing the new organisation structure and putting in place a new executive leadership structure.​
  3. Function by function, appointing managers and changing reporting lines so that business units and teams report to the right place in the new organisation structure.​
  4. Integrating and transforming those teams, and positioning them to deliver on the RoVE vision for Te Pūkenga.
How are existing contracts that ITOs and ITPs hold being transitioned?

Existing contracts will be assumed by Te Pūkenga to ensure continuity of service. Employment offers with similar or same terms and conditions have been made to ITP and TITO kaimahi transitioning into Te Pūkenga. This includes those within Collective Employment Agreements.