Proposed Changes to Apprenticeships

The Government is proposing to change NZ's apprenticeship system.

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What's it all about?

On 13 February 2019 the Minister of Education, Hon Chris Hipkins, announced the Government’s proposal to significantly change the apprenticeship system in New Zealand.

The proposal seeks to change the role of Industry Training Organisations (ITOs -including BCITO), and move the management of apprentices to a new single centralised institution (the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology - NZIST). BCITO would no longer arrange training. The NZIST would be formed by merging all existing polytechnics in New Zealand.

ITOs would be replaced with Industry Skill Bodies who would continue some existing ITO functions, like developing qualifications and have a stronger say over what was taught by the NZIST.

At this time this is a proposal for consultation, and none of this would come into effect until 2020, at which time a lengthy transition period would commence. At this stage, there is no change in any way to BCITO apprenticeships or the service we provide.

What is BCITO doing about the proposal?

BCITO held an urgent Summit on 5 May for key industry people and National Advisory Group members to discuss the changes in detail, and what they mean for our construction sector. The majority of those in attendance at this Summit rejected the Government's proposal as it currently stands.

Attendees at the Summit also identified parts of the system that must be retained, and are 'not-negotiable'. We produced a questionnaire for all BCITO employers and apprentices, to see what they thought of these. This survey closed on 15 March, and the feedback from it will be used in BCITO's submission to Government.

BCITO will respond to Government on this proposal by 27 March 2019, which is when the formal consultation period closes. BCITO's response will be on behalf of our industry, and will cover issues and concerns raised at the urgent Summit, and the survey responses of BCITO employers and apprentices.

You may wish to undertake your own investigations into the proposal – view the proposal document

If you have thoughts or feedback, or would like more information on the collective industry response that BCITO is leading, please write us at [email protected].