Frequently asked questions
Workforce Development Councils Background Information
What are Workforce Development Councils?
Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) ensure that the vocational education system meets industry needs and gives a stronger voice to Māori business and iwi development. WDCs will give their industries and employers greater leadership and influence across vocational education.
Success for WDCs will mean employers - including Māori business owners - are confident that vocational education graduates are ready for work and that the future skills needs of their industry will be addressed by the vocational education system.
As well as directly benefiting employers, WDCs will improve confidence and outcomes across the sector. Providers can be confident their programmes are relevant to employers and endorsed by industry. Learners can be confident their qualifications will meet employers’ expectations and national industry standards.
When were Workforce Development Councils established?
WDCs were stood up on 4 October 2021 through the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE)(external link).
How many Workforce Development Councils were established?
Six WDCs were set up to represent industries in Aotearoa New Zealand. These are:
- Hanga-Aro-Rau Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics WDC(external link)
- Muka Tangata – People, Food and Fibre WDC(external link)
- Ringa Hora Services WDC(external link)
- Toi Mai WDC(external link)
- Toitū te Waiora Community, Health, Education and Social Services WDC(external link)
- Waihanga Ara Rau Construction and Infrastructure WDC(external link)
What does a Workforce Development Council do?
Each WDC will work with industry and employers to understand the skills that are needed. This information will be passed to education and training providers, who will be expected to create learning programmes that will give people relevant skills to address future workforce needs.
WDCs will lead the development of industry qualifications, they will set industry standards and assess training provision against these industry standards. Where appropriate, WDCs will set and help with capstone assessments at the end of a qualification. Industry standards will be consistently applied across the country, and across all modes of learning, whether on the job (such as apprenticeships), on campus or online.
WDCs will also endorse vocational education programmes prior to them being approved by NZQA.
Who else will WDCs work with?
As well as engaging with industry and employers, each WDC will work collaboratively across the vocational education sector. WDCs will engage with Regional Skills Leadership Groups (RSLGs), Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) and Providers (Te Pūkenga, Wānanga and Private Training Establishments (PTEs)).
WDCS will also engage with a range of parties to help inform and prioritise their service delivery. These include the Ministry of Education (MoE), Advocacy Groups, Learners, Te Taumata Aronui, Government agencies and schools.
What are the functions of a Workforce Development Council?
The key functions of WDCs are set out in Section 366 of the Education and Training Act 2020.
These functions are:
- to provide skills and workforce leadership for the specified industries, including by identifying their current and future needs and advocating for those needs to be met through its work with the industries and with schools, providers, regional bodies, and the Government:
- to develop, set, and maintain skill standards:
- to develop and maintain industry qualifications for listing on the Qualifications Framework and to maintain qualifications for which it has become the qualifications developer:
- to develop and maintain training schemes:
- to develop and maintain training packages:
- to develop, set, and maintain capstone assessments based on the needs of the specified industries:
- to decide whether to endorse programmes developed by providers:
- to carry out moderation activities in relation to any standards and capstone assessments it sets:
- to provide employers with brokerage and advisory services approved by TEC:
- to advise TEC about its overall investment in vocational education and training and the mix of vocational education and training needed for the 1 or more specified industries covered by the workforce development council in the manner required by TEC:
- to represent the interests of the specified industries
- to perform any other functions conferred on it by the Minister in relation to the specified industries.
- For the purposes of subsection (1)(g), the Minister may, by notice in the Gazette, specify criteria relating to when a workforce development council must endorse a programme before it may be approved by NZQA under section 439(external link).
Expectations about the way WDCs will work are set out in section 369 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link).
In performing their functions, WDCs must take into account the needs of employers and employees in the industries covered by their WDC; we must also consider national and regional interests. WDCs are also expected to collaborate with providers - including wānanga - other WDCs and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).
As a priority WDCs must have regard for the needs of Māori and other population groups identified in the Tertiary Education Strategy(external link). We must also comply with any agreed quality assurance requirements set by NZQA relating to the performance of our functions.
What industries are represented by each Workforce Development Council?
Hanga-Aro-Rau (Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics) Workforce Development Council represents industries including Manufacturing, Processing, Extractives and Drilling, Transport (including heavy and commercial), Postal, Warehousing and related engineering.
Muka Tangata (People, Food and Fibre) Workforce Development Council represents industries including Dairy, Sheep and Beef, other livestock, Arable, Horticulture, Fishing, Seafood Processing, Winemaking, Aquaculture, Livestock farming, Sports Turf Management, Silviculture & Harvesting.
Ringa Hora (Services) Workforce Development Council represents industries including Advisory Services, Aviation, Cleaning Services, Business Services, Contact Centres, Financial Services, Hospitality, Local Government, Real Estate, Retail, Security Services, State sector, and Tourism & Travel.
Toi Mai Workforce Development Council works with employers, individual earners and volunteers from sectors including Creative, Technology, Entertainment, Hairdressing & Barbering, Makeup Artistry, Skincare, Journalism, Radio & Television Broadcasting, Gambling, and Sports & Recreation.
Toitū te Waiora (Community, Health, Education and Social Services) Workforce Development Council represents industries including Care Services, Disability Services, Education and Educational Support Services, Funeral Services, Health Services, Public Order Safety, Regulatory Services, Skin and Nail Therapy Services, Social Services, and Urban Pest Control.
Waihanga Ara Rau (Construction & Infrastructure) Workforce Development Council represents industries including Construction, Concrete, Plumbing, Infrastructure, Water, Gas, Electricity, Telecommunication, and Roading.
How were Workforce Development Councils established?
Extensive consultation with industry and the vocational education sector took place prior to WDCs being stood up on 4 October 2021.
The establishment of WDCs was led by WDC Interim Establishment Boards (iEBs) that were made up of industry representatives, many of whom were subsequently appointed to the permanent WDC Council. The main role of iEBs was to oversee the legal establishment of WDCs, which occurred through an Orders in Council (OiC) process.
All six iEBs were responsible for consulting with industry and developing an OiC that outlined the name of their WDC, industries represented, governance arrangements and other core aspects of their WDC. More than 200 people and organisations provided feedback on the draft OiCs. This engagement helped ensure WDCs were established in ways that will best meet industry needs.
Once approved by the Minister of Education, OiCs were sent to the Governor-General for signature. On Monday 10 May 2021 Her Excellency the Governor-General, Patsy Reddy, gave Royal Assent, passing in to law, OiCs establishing the six WDCs. The legislation came into effect on 11 June 2021.
What is set out in the Orders in Council?
The WDC Orders in Council (OiCs) can be viewed below:
- Community, Health, Education and Social Services(external link)
- Hanga-Aro-Rau Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics(external link)
- Muka Tangata People, Food and Fibre(external link)
- Services(external link)
- Toi Mai (Creative, Cultural, Recreation and Technology)(external link)
- Waihanga Ara Rau Construction and Infrastructure(external link)
Note, not all WDCs had selected a Māori name by the time their OiC was submitted, hence the OiCs do not reflect current WDC names.
Do Workforce Development Councils arrange apprenticeships or training?
No. Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) do not arrange training. Providers, including Transitional Industry Training Organisations, Te Pūkenga, Private Training Establishments and Wānanga, fulfil this function.
What is happening to Industry Training Organisations?
On 1 April 2020, TEC-funded Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) became transitional ITOs (TITOs) to allow their skills standard setting, qualifications development, and moderation and assessment activities to transition to the relevant WDCs and their arranging work-based training activities to transition to providers (Te Pūkenga, Private Training Establishments and Wānanga). WDCs took over TITO functions on 4 October 2021. All arranging training functions must transition from TITOs to providers on or before December 2022.
When do I need to request support from a WDC for my programme?
Providers need to request support from a WDC prior to submitting the programme to NZQA to seek approval.
How do I know which WDC to submit my request for programme support to?
You need to submit your request to the WDC that is the qualification developer for the qualification that your programme leads to.
Details for all qualifications have been updated on NZQA’s system. Search for the qualification by keyword or qualification number on the NZQF(external link). Click on the qualification to view the name of the current qualification developer.
My programme has already been approved by NZQA. Do I now need to request support from a WDC for it to continue?
No, you only need to request support if you have reviewed the programme and need to submit a change application to NZQA.
What happens if the WDC has concerns about my programme and won’t support it?
If the WDC has concerns about the programme, it will work with you to help resolve those concerns.
How long does it take to review a request for support?
The WDCs require 20 working days to review an application.
How much does it cost to apply for interim programme support?
There is no fee for us to review and provide support for your proposed programme.
National External Moderation
How do I know what WDC to contact about the moderation requirements?
Moderation requirements are outlined in the Consent and Moderation Requirements documents. A coversheet has been added to each CMR to identify the relevant WDC(s). More information about CMRs can be found here(external link).
What is the difference between internal and national external moderation?
- Internal moderation. Providers (including schools) must undertake internal moderation. This helps to ensure consistency of assessment within organisations, over time and between assessors.
- National external moderation. WDCs undertake national external moderation to maintain the consistency of assessment nationally, across all provider types.
What if our organisation is currently on an action plan?
Providers required to submit or implement an Action Plan or a Performance Improvement Plan with a TITO will be contacted by a Workforce Development Council to clarify requirements for moderation post 4 October 2021. This may include on-site or post assessment moderation.
How long will it take for WDCs to send a pre-assessment moderation report?
We aim to complete a pre-assessment moderation report within 20 working days.
If I change my assessment material, do I have to get it moderated by a WDC?
Yes. If assessment materials are modified by the provider then they have to be submitted to the relevant WDC for pre-assessment moderation. Please refer to the relevant CMR for pre-assessment moderation requirements. If you are unsure whether you need to submit materials for pre-assessment moderation, contact the relevant WDC.
Do assessment materials that have been previously moderated and approved by a TITO, now need to be moderated by a WDC?
Material that has been pre-assessment moderated by a TITO and is unchanged will be recognised as having met the CMR requirements. However, if assessment materials are modified by the provider then they have to be submitted to the relevant WDC for pre-assessment moderation.
When will I find out about moderation requirements for 2022?
We are currently focusing on prioritising moderation activities and planning for 2022. We will contact providers prior to January 2022 with moderation requirements for the 2022 Calendar year.
Do WDCs have to report to NZQA on moderation?
Yes. NZQA is responsible for monitoring the quality and results of WDC systems and procedures for managing national external moderation systems. WDCs report annually to NZQA on moderation outcomes and meet with NZQA to discuss national external moderation matters.
What are the NZQA National External Moderation principles?
These are principles to ensure there is a common understanding of standard setting body responsibilities. This is in relation to Rule 10.3 of the Directory of Assessment Standards Listing and Operational Rules 2021. The principles also provide a common frame of reference for NZQA’s monitoring WDCs. For more information, please see this link here(external link).
How long will it take for WDCs to complete an appeal?
We aim to complete an appeal within 20 working days.
Is there a charge for WDC moderation activities?
There is no charge for WDC moderation activities, including pre-assessment moderation, on-site moderation and post assessment moderation.
Consent and Moderation Requirements
Where can I access the Consent and Moderation Requirements (CMRs)?
You can access the CMRs on the NZQA website at this link(external link).
How do I find out which WDC to contact about a CMR?
A coversheet has been added to each CMR to identify the relevant WDC(s). More information about CMRs can be found here.(external link)
Will WDCs change CMRs in the future?
CMRs will be reviewed and rationalised over time. When changes to CMRs are made, WDCs will notify providers and all affected parties.
Consent to Assess
What is consent to assess?
Consent to assess is a process that allows education organisations to assess unit or achievement standards listed on the Directory of Assessment Standards (DAS) and award credit for them. Consent to assess is granted by New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA).
When do I have to apply for consent to assess?
- Providers need to apply for consent to assess if they want to assess against standards listed on the DAS.
- Providers need to apply for consent to assess when they want to extend their consent to assess against standards, for example adding or changing a standard in a programme or curriculum.
What is the role of the WDC in the consent to assess process?
As part of the NZQA application process, providers will need to supply a letter of support from the relevant WDC. This letter attests that the provider meets the specific industry requirements, including having the resources to effectively deliver and assess the unit standard(s).
When can I submit consent to assess applications to WDCs?
WDCs will accept consent to assess applications from 4 October 2021. Please see the ‘how to apply’ section above for more information.
How do I find the CMR requirements for consent to assess?
Find the Consent and Moderation Requirements (CMR) documents you're looking for by searching for the reference number here(external link) on the NZQA website.
Who’s involved in consent to assess?
Generally, consent to assess involves the provider, the WDC, and NZQA.
Should consent to assess be applied for at the individual unit standard or domain level?
Please apply for consent to assess at the individual unit standard level, for unit standards that the applicant intends to use.
What happens if the WDC has concerns with the consent to assess application?
In these instances the WDC will write to the Provider setting out the grounds for their concerns. The letter will cover how the concerns can be constructively addressed and the timeline for review.
What happens if the WDC refuses to provide a letter of support for the consent to assess application?
A WDC will only withhold a letter of support as a last resort. This is where all attempts to address outstanding issues with the applications have been exhausted. A WDC will aim to work collaboratively with providers in these cases.
What happens after WDCs send their letter of support to providers?
Providers have an obligation to maintain their consent to assess on an ongoing basis and are subject to the national external moderation system.
What is the charge to get consent to assess?
We do not charge for our role in consent to assess applications.
However, NZQA does charge for their role in consent to assess applications. Please see the relevant NZQA fees here(external link).
How long does it take to get consent to assess approval?
We will aim to provider letters of support for consent to assess applications within 20 working days. However, we recommend that you allow at least three months for the total consent to assess process, including NZQA approval.
Where can I find further information on consent to assess?
More information on the NZQA part of consent to assess can be found in the following documents.
What is happening to my consent to assess application that I submitted to a TITO?
We will complete any consent to assess applications that were initially submitted to a TITO.
I received a letter of support from a TITO, but have not yet submitted this to NZQA. Is this still valid?
TITO letters of support are still valid for the time period specified on the letter. You can use this letter to progress your application with NZQA.