Industry Training: Two reports on the performance of the industry training system

Publication Details

These two reports take a view of aspects of the industry training system.

  • The first report: 'Industry Training: Profiling achievement and assessing value for money' characterises trainees according to their study load and a number of other variables and looks at whether they were successful in completing programmes. This constitutes a study of the value the Government receives for its investment in the industry training system.
  • The second report: 'Limited credit programmes in industry training' analyses the performance of trainees who undertake ‘limited credit programmes’ – groups of unit standards that are taken under industry training but that don’t add up to a national certificate or diploma.
These two reports take a retrospective view of the industry training system, using data to the end of 2009, This means they don’t capture the effects of operational policy changes that took effect from mid 2010 – rather they provide context for those changes.

Author(s): Paul Mahoney, Tertiary Sector Performance Analysis Division

Date Published: March 2012

Please consider the environment before printing the contents of this report.

This report is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads' inset box, top right). The "Where to Find Out More' inset box (right) has links to related publications/information that may be of interest.

In 2011, the Ministry of Education began a more comprehensive review of the industry training system – papers relating to that review can be found at: Review of Industry Training.


Index of Reports
Industry Training: Profiling achievement and assessing: value for money
Limited credit programmes in industry training

Report 1: Industry Training: Profiling achievement and assessing value for money

Key Findings

  • This study categorises industry training participants to identify the factors associated with non-completion of programmes. 67 percent of trainees do not complete their programmes. The question is why? Evidence suggests employees changing or losing their jobs may only account for up to a third of these.
  • This study identifies two primary types of non-completing trainees, the Non-completion type A and the Non-completion type B trainees.
  • Non-completion type A trainees attain 50 percent or fewer credits required of their programme and hence, don’t complete. They can be described as very low credit trainees. They are characterised by lower than intended durations and lower than average volume programmes, but they take programmes at higher than average NZQF levels. Many have low  prior educational achievement. These factors suggest that a large subgroup of these trainees is struggling in programmes that are too challenging for them to cope with.
  • Very low credit trainees represent 30 percent of all industry trainees.  Their training consumes 36 percent of industry training funding.
  • A further 24 percent of trainees do not complete their programme and attain no credits at all, but still consume reasonably high levels of funding. This group, the Non-completion type B group are called in this report the no credit trainees.  They consume 19 percent of the total industry training fund.
  • There may be a number of reasons why these groups do not complete.  This analysis shows that ‘casual’ use of the industry training fund by employers is one significant factor in non-completion. Some employers may want employees to gain skills but they may be less interested in their staff getting whole qualifications that may make them likely to be recruited by a competitor or may not wish to pay for the parts they see as less relevant to their own firm.
  • And some trainees may simply attend bits of training when asked to do so by their employer, without thinking about qualifications.
  • The TEC operational funding changes, phased in from 2011, will concentrate government funding on those trainees who are completing credits and qualifications. These changes will have an effect on casual trainees’ access to the industry training fund.  These changes will occur outside the timeframe of this analysis. Agencies will be monitoring trends in the future to see if further changes are needed.

Report 2: Limited credit programmes in industry training

Key Findings

  • This study examines the use of Limited Credit Programmes (LCPs) in industry training. LCPs are non-qualification programmes that consist of collections of unit standards. They do not lead to nationally recognised qualifications.
  • Participation in LCPs has grown steadily since 2005, with a jump in participation occurring in 2009.
  • LCPs accounted for 9 percent of government funding for industry training in 2009 and 19 percent of trainee participation, up from 8 percent and 15 percent in 2008 respectively.
  • LCPs are being used by more industry training organisations (ITOs) – 29 in 2009, up from 23 in 2001.  But the reasons for use of LCPs differ between industries and ITOs. Some ITOs (such as those focused on trades) are relatively low users of LCPs, while others are high users.
  • During 2009, the economic downturn and increasing unemployment led to fewer new industry trainees. Some industry training organisations continued to sign up trainees, but these new starters were more likely to be older than new entrants in previous years. Many of these trainees ended up in LCPs.  The trend to place older trainees into LCPs reflects the need of ITOs to fill funded places when many young people had lost jobs in the downturn and hence, were ineligible for industry training.
  • All industry training programmes are intended to lead to national certificates. But this analysis shows that only a minority of trainees involved in LCPs progress to programmes leading to qualifications, and still fewer attain them.
  • There is some evidence that LCPs are increasingly used as stand-alone training programmes, as fewer trainees progress from them to national certificate programmes than in previous years. The analysis shows that older trainees are the least likely to progress to a national certificate programme. So the progression rate from LCPs is diminishing as the average age of participants increases.  Only one of the ITOs analysed in this paper shows a probability of progression of over 50 percent.
  • Some LCPs have functioned as workplace health and safety compliance training. Between 2006 and 2008 around 20 percent of LCPs had an identifiable health and safety focus, which increased to 39 percent in 2009.  The LCPs with a health and safety component have very low progression – the probability of progression is almost 10 percentage points lower than for LCPs that don’t cover health and safety.
  • One factor in the growth of participation in LCPs is that they have fewer generic components and hence, a greater focus on firms’ immediate skills needs.
  • Average credit loads for LCPs have declined in recent years, as has the average NZQF level of LCPs.  This suggests that there is a lower return for government expenditure.
  • The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has changed funding policies so that at least 50 percent of trainees previously enrolled in an LCP must have progressed to and completed a full national qualification within five years of enrolment in the LCP for that LCP to be funded. Funding for programmes focussed solely on health and safety has not been made available in 2012.


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