New Zealand's Workplace-based Learners
An overview of industry training and other workplace-based trends for the year ended December 2021.
Participation in industry training Updated: May 2022
Statistics relating to trainees enrolled in workplace-based learning, including industry training and Apprenticeships.
- Participation in Industry Training [MS Excel 390.9kB]
Achievement in industry training Updated: May-2022
Statistics relating to achievement in workplace-based learning, including industry training and Apprenticeships.
- Achievement in industry training [MS Excel 421.8kB]
Field of specialisation
for industry training learners gaining qualifications Updated: May-2022
Statistics relating to qualification completion for industry training learners by their field of specialisation and other characteristics.
Industry training and other workplace-based trends
New Zealand’s Workplace-Based Learners gives an overview of industry training and other workplace-based learning trends for the year ended December 2021. It focuses on industry training and covers the characteristics of learners, the industries they learn in, and what they achieve. It also contains a short overview of Gateway and trades academies.
This information shows performance in industry training, regardless of whether training-related activity was funded by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). As such, these measures may differ to those published by the TEC.
Types of workplace-based learners
There are three types of workplace-based learners. These are:
a) Industry Training Apprentices
Apprentices are industry training learners who do substantial training programmes at Levels 4 or above. Apprenticeships provide opportunities for learners to establish careers in new occupations. Apprenticeships include New Zealand Apprenticeship programmes, and programmes at equivalent levels and credit loads, as well as the remaining Modern Apprenticeship programmes
b) Managed Apprentices
These are apprentices enrolled at Te Pūkenga subsidiaries. As such, they are included in the reported counts of provider-based tertiary education students. They are not included in the counts of learners on this page.
Trainees are industry training learners who do short programmes, often at lower levels. Traineeships often cater for established workers and employers who need supplementary skills for their workers to help them continue to adapt to changing technologies and other working conditions. Traineeships are also used to train new employees.
We report statistics separately on a) apprentices and c) trainees.
We also report on senior secondary school students in workplace training through Gateway and trades academies. These are secondary-tertiary programmes that provide access to trades or technology learning opportunities as part of the Youth Guarantee programme.
What does the 2021 data show?
The data for the 12 months to December 2021 shows:
- The workplace-based training system was strongly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in New Zealand. Between 2020 and 2021, COVID-19 caused economic activity to slow, as lockdown periods and the border closure disrupted business. Employers reacted to the associated economic uncertainty by stopping hiring new staff, which led to a large decline in the number of people starting traineeships. In 2020, two main Government initiatives were deployed to support skills training in workplaces, and these continued to support workplace-based learners in 2021. These were Apprenticeship Boost, designed to support new (Year 1 and Year 2) apprentices by providing subsidies to employers, and the Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF), which provided fee support to apprentices, and trainees at Level 3 or higher in targeted study fields.
- The number of trainees decreased in 2021, but there was an increase in apprentices. The number of trainees decreased by 3.0 percent to 74,415, while numbers of apprentices increased by 27 percent to 78,480. Overall, the total number of industry training learners increased by 10 percent from 2020 with 151,975 learners. This is the highest total industry training participation since 2010, and the only year since 2001 in which apprentices have outnumbered trainees.
- The number of trainees completing qualifications decreased, but their 5 year completion rate increased. Conversely, the number of apprentices completing qualifications increased, while their 5 year completion rate decreased. In 2021, 24,285 trainees completed a qualification, down 9.5 percent on 2020. The proportion of trainees completing a qualification within five years of starting study increased by 3 percentage points to 63 percent. The qualification completion rate for apprentices decreased by 4 percentage points to 50 percent.
The overall number of trainees and apprentices in 2021 was 151,975, an increase of 10 percent from 2020 (14,000 learners). The number of trainees decreased by 3.0 percent (to 74,415), while apprentices increased by 27 percent (to 78,480). This is the highest total industry training participation since 2010, and the only year since 2001 in which apprentices have outnumbered trainees.
An 11 percent increase in new entrant trainees (2,700 more new trainees) was accompanied by a 10 percent decrease in the number of trainees continuing from the previous year (5,045 fewer continuing trainees), which led to the overall decrease in trainees from 2020. In contrast, the amount of training delivered to trainees (measured in standard training measures, or STMs) was 0.7 percent higher than in 2020 (see table 1).
The proportion of the workforce participating as trainees decreased slightly to 2.7 percent in 2021 (from 2.8 percent in 2020). In 2021, 46 percent of trainees were women (see figure 1). The male trainee participation rate was the same as in 2020 (2.7 percent of the male workforce) while there was a decrease in the female trainee participation rate to 2.6 percent of the female workforce (from 2.9 percent).
The proportion of the workforce who were apprentices increased slightly to 2.8 percent (from 2.3 percent). Participation rates for male apprentices and female apprentices both increased, to 4.4 percent for males (from 3.6 percent) and by a slight 0.3 percentage points for females (to 1.0 percent). In 2021, 17 percent of apprentices were women, an increase from 14 percent in 2020 (see figure 2).
|Workforce Participation (%)|| Delivered|
|Workforce Participation (%)|| Delivered|
Figure 1: Trainees by gender 2012-2021
Figure 2: Apprentices by gender 2012-2021
The age distribution of trainees in 2021 was slightly younger than in 2020 with 40 percent of trainees being under 30 years (up from 38 percent), and 34 percent of trainees aged 40 years or older (down from 37 percent).
The trend towards older apprentices continued, with the proportion aged under 25 years decreasing slightly to 42 percent (from 43 percent in 2019), and the proportion of apprentices aged 40 years or older increasing from 14 percent to 15 percent.
Figures 3 and 4 show the proportions of the workforce that were trainees or apprentices, categorised by ethnicity. Trainee participation as a percentage of the workforce decreased across most ethnic groups but was steady for Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and African trainees in 2021. Workforce participation rates for Māori and Pacific Peoples trainees, although decreasing, remained higher than for other groups.
Participation rates for apprentices increased across all ethnic groups with the largest increases for Māori and Pacific Peoples. Participation continues to be highest for apprentices of Māori ethnicity.
Figure 3: Trainee workforce participation by ethnicity 2016-2021
Figure 4: Apprentice workforce participation by ethnicity 2016-2021
A high proportion of industry training learners hold tertiary qualifications gained prior to starting training. Overall, 57 percent of trainees (up from 55 percent in 2020) and 46 percent of apprentices (up from 45 percent) already held a tertiary certificate, diploma, or degree (bachelors or above).
What industries do they participate in?
The industries with the most trainees in 2021 were: healthcare and social assistance (20 percent of trainees or 14,925 learners), manufacturing (15 percent or 11,300 learners), and retail, trade and accommodation (13 percent or 9,445 learners).
The construction industry hosted the highest number of apprentices (42 percent or 33,325 learners), followed by retail, trade and accommodation (14 percent or 11,320 learners), and manufacturing (10 percent or 8,175 learners) (see figure 5).
Figure 6 shows, for each gender, the proportion of the workforce undertaking an apprenticeship in the three industries with the greatest numbers of apprentices across the years 2017 to 2021. Female workers have much lower rates of participation in apprenticeships. For example, in 2021, 13 percent of men working in construction were apprentices compared to 3.1 percent of women. Overall, 4.4 percent of the male workforce were apprentices compared to 1.0 percent of the female workforce.
Figure 5: Distribution of trainees and apprentices by industry 2021
Figure 6: Apprenticeship participation by gender 2017-2021, selected industries
What training activity did learners undertake?
The number of trainees who entered training in 2021 increased by 11 percent on the previous year to 27,660 new entrants (see Technical Notes for an explanation of the training activity categories) The proportion of all trainees who were new entrants increased to 37 percent, up from 33 percent in 2020. Among all trainees (both new and continuing), the proportion that completed training increased slightly from 36 percent to 37 percent, and the proportion withdrawing from training also increased to 20 percent, up from 18 percent in 2020 (see figure 7).
The proportion of apprentices who were new entrants in 2021 increased to 33 percent (or 25,985 apprentices), from 31 percent in 2020. The proportion of all apprentices withdrawing without completion increased to 17 percent, from 12 percent in 2020, while the proportion that completed training remained steady at 13 percent (see figure 8).
Figure 7: Proportion of trainees by main activity 2012-2021
Figure 8: Proportion of apprentices by main activity 2012-2021
What qualifications did they achieve?
The number of trainees that completed a qualification decreased 9.5 percent (to 24,285), and a total of 25,425 qualifications were awarded to trainees (down from 28,215 in 2020).
As in 2020, 80 percent of qualifications achieved by trainees were at Level 3 or higher, reflecting the continued longer-term decrease in lower level training (Level 1 and Level 2).
A total of 11,205 apprentices completed a qualification in 2021, an increase of 14 percent compared to 2020, and 12,135 qualifications were awarded to apprentices in 2021.
The proportion of trainees completing a qualification within five years of commencement increased to 63 percent in 2021, from 60 percent in 2020 (see figure 9). For apprentices, the five year qualification completion rate decreased to 50 percent in 2021, from 54 percent in 2020 (see figure 10).
Figure 9: Five-year trainee qualification completion rates 2013-2021
Figure 10: Five-year apprentice qualification completion rates 2013-2021
How many school students took part In Gateway and Trades Academies?
Gateway and trades academies, part of the government’s Youth Guarantee programme, aim to assist school students to gain employment or further training. Learners can earn assessment standards that can contribute towards the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) and other qualifications on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.
The number of learners accessing Gateway programmes in 2021 was higher (by 6.1 percent) than 2020 (13,710 students). Gateway students achieved 308,145 credits in 2021, an average of 22 per student. This is an increase on 2020, but is generally lower than in the period 2015 to 2019.
Technical Notes | Background
Forms of industry training:
There are two main forms of workplace-based learning. The most common is industry training, which covers trainees and apprenticeships administered by transitional industry training organisations (TITOs) and other organisations under the Education and Training Act 2020.
Traineeships are industry training programmes that do not meet the New Zealand Apprenticeships credit (120 or more credits) and level (at least Level 4) criteria. Trainees are often involved in smaller programmes, at lower qualification levels, that suit established workers wanting to update or increase their skills.
Apprenticeships presented here are mainly arranged under the Education and Training Act 2020. They include: New Zealand Apprenticeships (introduced in 2014); Modern Apprenticeships; and industry training apprenticeship equivalents (study programmes that meet or exceed the New Zealand Apprenticeships criteria, i.e. qualifications at Level 4 or above, consisting of at least 120 credits). The other form of workplace-based learning is administered by tertiary education organisations, such as Te Pūkenga subsidiaries, and is sometimes referred to as ‘Managed Apprenticeships’.
All industry training organisations (ITOs) operating in 2021 were re-established as TITOs. Under the Review of Vocational Education reforms, all ITO functions will transfer to other organisations. During 2021, some TITOs transferred functions to Te Pūkenga, and two TITOs transferred functions to Private Training Establishments (PTE). One TITO transferred functions to a body funded as a directly funded organisation.
Most of the statistics on this page are derived from returns provided by government-funded tertiary education organisations to the Tertiary Education Commission. This data may differ from that reported by the Tertiary Education Commission because it is based on all industry training enrolments. It shows counts of both funded and unfunded trainees and apprentices. Data may also be different to that published in previous years because tertiary education providers can submit updates to historical data. Denominator workforce numbers for participation rate calculations were estimated using the Household Labour Force Survey.
Standard training measures:
A standard training measure (STM) is a unit or a quantity of training. One standard training measure is the nominal amount of training that is required for a learner to achieve 120 credits (or its equivalent) in an approved and structured training programme. One credit equals 10 nominal hours of instruction and study. One standard training measure comprises 120 credits, or 1,200 nominal hours, of instruction and study.
The results reported are estimates based on the distribution of trainees and apprentices whose previous highest qualification was known. For 2021, previous qualification was known for 90 percent of trainees and 95 percent of apprentices.
Six categories are used to classify learners’ training activity. Firstly, learners are classified as either continuing (from a previous year) or entrant (enrolling for the first time in the reference year). Secondly, these groups are split according to their exit activities. Thus, the ‘Continuing training’ category includes only those learners who are continuing their training and who do not leave in the reference year. The ‘Exit & completion’ and ‘Exit & withdrawn’ categories are used for learners who are continuing their training, but who leave in the reference year. Similarly, the ‘Entry’ category does not include new entrants who complete or withdraw from training in the reference year, since these learners are classified in the ‘Entry & completion’ or ‘Entry & withdrawn’ categories.