Workforce Development Councils

Workforce Development Councils

Last updated 20 December 2019
Last updated 20 December 2019

Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) will help industry take a lead in making New Zealand’s workforce fit for today, and the future. Through skills leadership plans, they will set a vision for the workforce and influence the vocational education and training system.

Six WDCs, using the current vocational pathways as a model, will be created for this purpose and will cover:

Charts plain v2

The establishment of WDCs will be enabled by the passing of the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill expected by 1 April, 2020. There will then be a transition period until 31 December 2022, to allow time for functions to transfer to the new WDCs and providers at the appropriate time.

Next Steps

The next steps for the WDCs establishment process include:

  • Further engagement with industry, relevant stakeholders, and industry training organisations regarding the WDC establishment process early in the new year.
  • Supporting WDCs to identify their governance arrangements and Board appointment process to ensure good governance arrangements are put in place and that the WDCs represent all industry interests within their area of coverage.
  • Supporting ITOs in their transition by establishing transitional ITOs on 1 April 2020 to maintain current ITO capability until WDCs are established and a provider has taken on their responsibilities for arranging training.

Please refer to the WDC Fact Sheet (PDF, 574 Kb) for more information.

Consultation process:

The following consultation and engagement activities have been undertaken:

  • Five public workshops/meetings – two in Auckland, and one each in Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton (attended by 213 organisations and 294 people)
  • Workshops with Industry Training Organisations, government organisations/officials, and regulatory/skills standards bodies
  • Around 30 meetings with individual industry associations and employers (or groupings of up to 10 organisations)
  • Participation at around 25 Industry Training Organisation arranged engagement events
  • Regional engagement as a part of the wider Reform of Vocational Education programme, including participation at Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Regional Skills Leadership workshops
  • Additional feedback was also received via a public email address,

The document What we heard about the potential coverage and governance of workforce development councils (PDF, 6 Mb) provides a comprehensive summary of the feedback we received from consultation and engagement.

Please also find our output documents from some meetings below:

Hamilton – 17 September 2019 (PDF, 563 Kb)
Christchurch – 19 September 2019 (PDF, 750 Kb)
Wellington – 20 September 2019 (PDF, 744 Kb)
Auckland - 25 September 2019 (PDF, 687 Kb)
Auckland - 26 September 2019 (PDF, 1 Mb)

Please find a copy of the presentation given at our meetings below:

WDC Public Meeting Presentation (PDF, 1 Mb)

Please note that this presentation was adjusted slightly for some of the public meetings.

Send us your views

You can contact us by email with your thoughts:

We will also engage directly with some large employers and industry associations. If this describes you and we haven’t been in touch, please send us an email at

Please note that feedback, submitted to us by email or recorded at meetings, will inform decisions about WDCs. We may also choose to publically release any feedback we receive.

WDCs work and purpose

WDCs will set standards, develop qualifications and help shape the curriculum of vocational education. They will moderate assessments against industry standards and, where appropriate, set and moderate capstone assessments at the end of a qualification.

WDCs will also provide advice to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) on investment in vocational education, and determine the appropriate mix of skills and training for the industries they cover.

WDCs will endorse programmes that lead onto qualifications, whether work-based (such as apprenticeships), on-campus or online. Unless a programme has the confidence of a WDC, which is essentially industry confidence, it won’t be approved nor funded. 

Besides setting expectations, providing skills leadership and setting standards, WDCs will provide employers with brokerage and advisory services. WDCs won’t, however, be directly involved in arranging apprenticeships and other on-the-job training.

The TEC and Ministry of Education are working together on the development of WDCs.

Shaping WDCs around the Vocational Pathways

The Vocational Pathways are six industry groups that align with the different standards at levels 1, 2 and 3 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

The six Vocational Pathway areas are:

  • Creative Industries
  • Primary Industries (Food & Fibre)
  • Service Industries
  • Social and Community Services
  • Construction and Infrastructure
  • Manufacturing and Technology.

Potential to share some functions across the WDCs

Some WDC work will be common to all of them. Shared functions could include some, or all, of the below:

  • Common skills standards such as management, literacy and numeracy, health and safety
  • Options for combined back office functions
  • Information procurement and sharing
  • Centralised TEC advice function
  • Centralised planning function for data.

What is happening to the arranging of training for apprentices and trainees?

In the short term, there is no change to training via your ITO.

You can continue to hire and train apprentices and staff through your relevant ITO. Support for training arrangements will not stop.

In time, providers will support the training in your workplace, but only when the providers have the necessary skills and capabilities.