First-time application to receive funding for work-based learning

Tono tuatahi kia whiwhi pūtea mō ngā akoranga i te wāhi mahi

Last updated 29 May 2023
Last updated 29 May 2023

This page outlines the process for tertiary education organisations (TEOs) that want to enquire about starting to deliver work-based learning.

This information is for TEOs that are:

  • currently funded by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), or
  • registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), but do not currently receive TEC funding.

Please note that any TEOs looking to receive TEC funding for the first time are also subject to the standard “new provider” requirements.

TEOs new to work-based learning

The vocational education and training system has been reshaped to meet the needs of a fast-changing future of skills, learning and work. There is a strong focus on employers:

  • delivering the skills they need in the workplace
  • providing more support and flexibility for their employees/learners to earn while they learn, and
  • ensuring greater consistency in vocational education across Aotearoa New Zealand.

In 2023, delivery of work-based learning is limited to those TEOs that were named in transition plans from Transitional Industry Training Organisations (TITOs) or that were already delivering work-based learning.

If you are an existing TEO (registered with NZQA) that would like to move into work-based learning, you can now talk with us about applying for 2024 funding.

Requirements before you apply

We will only consider applications that are aligned with the work of the relevant Workforce Development Council (WDC), and that would address an unmet need in an industry or sector that does not already have access to work-based learning.

To be approved to deliver work-based learning, you must first talk with us about the unmet need that you have identified, as well as how you have engaged with the relevant WDC and – if appropriate – employers and Regional Skills Leadership Groups (RSLGs).

We want to understand the outcome/progress of your engagement with these key stakeholders about your proposed provision. Your proposed delivery should align with:

  • a specific area of provision that the WDC and RSLGs have identified for growth or change as published in our Supplementary Plan Guidance (to be released in June) and any other relevant WDC and RSLG publications
  • any key work that the WDC is doing regarding future workforce needs/future qualification requirements.

We also want to understand which unmet need(s) your proposed provision seeks to address. The proposals must be for a new or different programme not currently offered under work-based learning. It should also address other needs, such as:

  • provision targeting a new cohort not currently engaged in education, and/or
  • learning that is not currently available in a work-based context, and/or
  • learning delivered in kaupapa Māori/Māori medium settings.

As well as this, we will check that TEOs meet the organisational requirements. We are looking for TEOs that have:

  • an External Evaluation and Review (EER) rating of 1 or 2
  • a low financial risk profile (determined by TEC) or a level of financial risk that is deemed acceptable by TEC
  • appropriate approvals from NZQA (underway if not complete, or approval will be conditional on receiving these)
  • endorsements from the relevant WDC, and
  • actively considered and accept the costs linked to reporting via the Industry Training Register.

We will consider unmet needs in context

It is critical that, if you are a TEO seeking to enter work-based learning in a particular field, you collaborate with the relevant WDC regarding proposed solutions to address gaps.

TEC will only consider new work-based learning that addresses an unmet need where we are confident that you are working hand in hand with the relevant WDC. This could be provision in subject areas that have traditionally been offered in a classroom environment, such as IT, animal care, health, etc. We welcome innovations of this kind to expand the scope of work-based learning.

We are also interested in:

  • applications that engage with industries new to work-based learning
  • provision that aims to better engage underserved groups such as Māori and Pacific ākonga
  • ideas that focus on engaging learners with disabilities who are not currently reached by existing provision due to location, mode of delivery, or other barriers that the proposed provision will address.

How to apply

Please email us at or get in touch with your Relationship Manager. We will guide you through the requirements. If we decide that you are likely to meet the above criteria, we will provide you with an application form. Please submit this form and all relevant evidence by 7 July 2023, along with your Investment Plan documents.

Meeting the criteria does not guarantee funding

We will only consider applications that meet the above criteria. However, please note that meeting these criteria does not guarantee funding.

We will consider all new work-based learning funding requests at the same time to determine which ones offer the best value for learners, industry, and other stakeholders, in the context of the funding available for 2024.

You must be able to use the Industry Training Register

The Industry Training Register (ITR) is the reporting tool for work-based learning enrolments. All TEOs wanting to offer work-based learning must be able to report using the ITR. You can do this either directly through your student/trainee management system, or via a bureau service.

It is very important that any TEO looking to offer work-based learning for the first time fully understands the set-up and ongoing costs of connecting to the ITR. Please discuss this with your student/trainee management system provider, and ensure you can commit to the costs before you apply to TEC to offer work-based learning.

We are currently working on a new data exchange system. This will replace the Single Data Return (SDR) and the ITR and is expected to be launched in 2025. Please factor this into your decision-making and discuss it with your student/trainee management system vendor.

For extensive information on how to connect to the ITR, please see the ITR Guide.

Use of unit standards

Work-based learning programmes must be unit standards-based. This is an important consideration in the design of your programme as only unit standards can be reported in the ITR.