Skills standards

Skill standards

The purpose of the skill standard and ‘national curriculum’ co-design process is to inform decisions that will shape the implementation of RoVE legislation, and the Government’s decision to simplify New Zealand qualifications and other credentials. In 2020, NZQA engaged with key parties and heard strong support for simplifying the design of vocational qualifications. These ideas were formally tested though consultation in 2021 with more than 400 people and organisations providing feedback into this process. Key feedback from participants included that: vocational qualifications and regulatory requirements are too complicated and require multiple points of engagement for employers, learner outcomes are inconsistent, and there are too many educational products.

Co-design process

The delivery of a simplified qualifications and credential system requires the development of two new education products: skill standards and ‘national curricula’ (name yet to be determined). These two education products must meet the needs of a wide range of stakeholders, including learners, whānau, iwi, employers, communities, tertiary education organisations, schools, NZQA and other government departments/agencies.

NZQA and Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) are working together to co-design skill standards and ‘national curriculum’ with industry, educators, and other stakeholders. The co-design process will include detailed product design, rules, and guidance, as well as an approach to developing provider understanding and capability to replace unit standards with skill standards and enable the implementation of ‘national curricula’. The proposals developed through the co-design process will be formally consulted on with the wider sector later in 2022.

The new products

Skill standards and ‘national curriculum’ will help to address inconsistencies in programme and graduate outcomes and support a coherent and flexible qualifications and credentials landscape. Skill standards and ‘national curriculum’ will be set by standard-setting bodies (WDCs, NZQA and the Ministry of Education). Skill standards are intended to be the core building blocks of vocational qualifications. Skill standards will bring together industry skills and learning outcomes in a common education product, supporting greater consistency in programme design and assessment, and seamless transitions from provider-based learning to workplace learning and vice-versa.

Skill standards will be listed on the Directory of Assessment and Skill Standards (DASS) at levels 1-7 and will eventually be the core components of qualifications up to Level 7. Where a qualification or credential defines mandatory skill standards, these must be used by all providers.

A ‘national curriculum’ may be developed for a specific qualification. It is envisaged that ‘national curriculum’ will draw on the skill standards within a qualification and prescribe further the context, structure, sequencing, guidance and other information to encourage consistency in graduate outcomes. The development and maintenance of ‘national curriculum’ is intended to be a collaborative process, where standard-setting bodies partner with providers and other stakeholders to reach a shared view. Where a qualification or defines a mandatory ‘national curriculum’, it must be used by all providers, which means that providers will not need to develop a programme of study.

Next steps

The proposals developed through the co-design process will be formally consulted on with the wider sector later in 2022. Once formally implemented, skill standards and ‘national curriculum’ may be developed by WDCs (and other standard-setting bodies), in collaboration with providers, industry and other stakeholders. It is anticipated these products will start to be produced from the end of 2022/start of 2023.

If you or your organisation would like to be involved in a Skills Standard project relevant to your sector in the future, please register your interest at [email protected]