New Zealand's Workplace-based Learners

Industry training and other workplace-based trends

New Zealand’s Workplace-Based Leaners gives an overview of industry training and other workplace-based learning trends for the year ended December 2017.

It focuses largely 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.

What does the 2017 data show?

The data for the 12 months to December 2017 shows:

  • The number of decreased in 2017, but there was an increase in apprentices. The number of trainees decreased by 5 percent to 100,000, while apprenticeship numbers increased by 7.4 percent to 46,200. Overall, the total number of industry training learners decreased by 1.5 percent to 146,000.
  • The age of new   appears to be increasing. The median age of new entrants to apprenticeships in 2017 was 24, up from 21 in 2013. While this has fluctuated over time, recent years show a trend towards older new entrants.
  • Holding post-school qualifications continues to be common for new entrants to industry training. The proportion of new apprentices with a prior tertiary qualification reached 50 percent for the first time in 2017.
  • The number of qualifications achieved by trainees and apprentices decreased, and the 5 year completion rate for apprentices dropped. In 2017, 38,000 trainees and 9,000 apprentices completed a qualification, decreases of 2 percent and 4 percent respectively. The proportion of trainees completing a qualification within five years of starting study increased by 4 percentage points to 65 percent. The rate for apprentices dropped by 2 percentage points to 57 percent.

Who participates?

The overall number of trainees and apprentices fell 1.5 percent in 2017 (to 146,000). The number of trainees decreased by 5.3 percent (to 100,300), while apprentices increased by 7.4 percent (to 46,000). This is the first drop in industry training participation since 2012 and was driven by a 9 percent decrease in new entrant trainees. The amount of training delivered to trainees (measured in , or STMs) was 2.8 percent lower than in 2016 (see tables 1 and 2).

The proportion of the workforce participating as trainees dropped to 3.9 percent in 2017, down from 4.3 percent, while the proportion of the workforce who were apprentices was stable in 2017, at 1.8 percent. The male trainee participation rate continued to decrease (4 percent compared with 4.6 percent in 2016) while female trainees as a percentage of all females in employment remained the same as 2016. Participation rates for male and female apprentices stayed relatively stable. In 2017, forty-five percent of trainees and 12 percent of apprentices were women (see figures 1 and 2).

Table 1: Trainees 2012-2017
YearTotalLearners Proportion
Female
(%)
Workforce Participation (%) Delivered
STMs
MaleFemaleMaleFemaleTotal
2012 103,000 63,000 38,600 38 5.5 3.7 4.7 27,000
2013 102,000 61,000 40,000 40 5.2 3.8 4.6 27,000
2014 99,000 58,000 40,000 41 4.8 3.7 4.3 25,000
2015 106,000 61,000 44,000 42 4.9 3.9 4.5 26,000
2016 106,000 60,000 45,000 42 4.6 3.8 4.3 27,000
2017 100,000 55,000 45,000 45 4 3.8 3.9 26,000
Table 2: Apprentices 2012-2017
YearTotalLearners Proportion
Female
(%)
Workforce Participation (%) Delivered
STMs
MaleFemaleMaleFemaleTotal
2012 36,000 31,000 5,000 14 2.7 0.5 1.7 18,000
2013 37,000 32,000 4,900 13 2.8 0.5 1.7 19,000
2014 42,000 37,000 4,900 12 3 0.4 1.8 23,000
2015 42,000 37,000 4,600 11 3 0.4 1.8 25,100
2016 43,000 38,000 4,700 11 2.9 0.4 1.7 25,000
2017 46,000 40,000 5,700 12 3 0.5 1.8 26,000
Figure 1: Trainees by gender 2008-2017

Figure 1: Trainees by gender 2008-2017

Figure 2: Apprentices by gender 2008-2017

Figure 1: Apprentices by gender 2008-2017

A further 1,300 learners were reported as Managed Apprentices for 2017, an increase of 9 percent (or 100 learners), over 2016. These apprenticeships are administered by tertiary organisations such as polytechnics and institutes of technology.

Age group

The trend towards younger trainees continued with 43 percent of trainees under 30 years in 2017, compared with 40 percent for 2013. The trend towards older apprentices also continued, with the proportion aged under 25 years decreasing to 49 percent (from 59 percent in 2013) with an accompanying increase in the 25-34 years age group (comprising 44 percent of apprentices in 2017). The median age of new entrants to apprenticeships in 2017 was 24 years, up from 21 years in 2013. While this has fluctuated over time, recent years show a trend towards older new entrants.

Ethnicity

Figures 3 and 4 show the proportion of the workforce that are trainees or apprentices, broken down by ethnicity. Trainee participation as a percentage of the workforce fell for all ethnic groups in 2017, but participation rates for Māori and Pacific Peoples remained higher than for other groups. While participation rates for apprentices increased across all ethnic groups, the largest increase was for Pacific Peoples, where the 2017 rate was nearly equal to European. Participation continues to be highest for apprentices of Māori ethnicity.

Figure 3: Trainee participation by ethnicity 2012-2017

Figure 3: Trainee participation by ethnicity 2012-2017

Figure 4: Apprentice participation by ethnicity 2012-2017

Figure 3: Apprentice participation by ethnicity 2012-2017

Prior Qualifications

Increasing numbers of industry training learners hold tertiary to starting training. Overall, 58 percent of trainees and 46 percent of apprentices in 2017 already held a tertiary certificate, diploma, or bachelors or above degree, compared to 56 percent and 43 percent in 2016 respectively. For apprentices, the proportion of new entrants holding a tertiary degree, certificate or diploma reached 50 percent for the first time in 2017.

What industries do they participate in?

The industries with the most trainees in 2017 were; healthcare and social assistance (18 percent of trainees or 18,000 learners), manufacturing (17 percent or 17,000 learners), retail, trade and accommodation (15 percent or 15,000 learners), and agriculture, forestry and fishing (14 percent or 14,000 learners). Construction had the highest number of apprentices (39 percent or 18,000 learners), followed by retail, trade and accommodation (14 percent or 6,600 learners), manufacturing (12 percent or 5,300 learners), and agriculture, forestry and fishing (8 percent or 3,600 learners) (see figure 5).

Figure 6 shows the proportion of the workforce for each gender undertaking an apprenticeship for the three industries with the greatest numbers of apprentices across the years 2013 to 2017. Female workers have much lower rates of participation in apprenticeships. For example, during the 2017 year 8 percent of males working in construction were apprentices compared to less than 1 percent of women. The proportion of the female construction and agriculture, forestry and fishing workforce who are apprentices has declined between 2013 and 2017, while for manufacturing, it has increased. Overall, the proportion of the female workforce who are apprentices has stayed stable.

Figure 5: Distribution of trainees and apprentices by industry 2017

Figure 5: Distribution of trainees and apprentices by industry 2017

Figure 6: Apprenticeship participation by gender 2013-2017

Figure 6: Apprenticeship participation by gender 2013-2017

What training activity did learners undertake?

The number of new trainees in 2017 fell to 37,000 from 41,000 in 2016. This contributed to the trend of smaller proportions of trainees entering training or continuing training started in earlier years. Combined with the trend of more trainees leaving training, this illustrates the continued positive impact of traineeship funding rules regarding minimum credit achievement (see figure 7) and progression through training since 2011. The proportion of trainees whose was entering a traineeship decreased by one percentage point to 37 percent, having previously increased steadily since 2009. The proportion continuing training from a previous year decreased by two percentage points to 22 percent, and the proportion that left training increased by four percentage points to 41 percent.

In contrast, the proportion of apprentices that were new entrants in 2017 increased to 26 percent (or 12,000 apprentices), from 24 percent in 2016. The proportion continuing training from a previous year decreased by three percentage points to 45 percent, and the proportion exiting training increased slightly from 27 percent in 2016 to 29 percent (see figure 8).

Figure 7: Proportion of trainees by main activity 2008-2018

 Figure 7: Proportion of trainees by main activity 2008-2018

Figure 8: Proportion of apprentices by main activity 2008-2017

Figure 8: Apprenticeship participation by gender 2013-2017

What qualifications did they achieve?

A total of 9,000 apprentices completed a qualification in 2017, down 4 percent from 2016. The number of trainees that completed a qualification declined by 1.8 percentage points to 38,000.  A total of 40,000 qualifications were awarded to trainees, compared to 11,000 qualifications awarded to apprentices in 2017.

As a consequence of the continued decrease in lower level training, 66 percent of the qualifications achieved by trainees were at Level 3 or higher, up from 59 percent in 2016. The proportion of qualifications awarded to trainees at Level 1 or Level 2 dropped to 34 percent from 41 percent in 2016. Apprenticeship training is generally all at Level 4 or above.

The proportion of trainees completing a qualification, at the intended or higher level, within five years of commencement increased from 61 percent in 2016 to 65 percent in 2017, continuing an upward trend since 2013 (see figure 9). For apprentices, the five year completion rate dropped to 57 percent in 2017 from 59 percent the previous year (see figure 10).

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.

Gateway

The number of learners accessing Gateway programmes in 2017 was 2 percent lower than 2016 (14,000 students). Gateway students achieved 252,000 credits in 2017, an average of 21 per student. While the total number of credits earned was 18 percent lower than 2016, the average credit achievement per student was just one credit lower.

Trades Academies

The number of students that participated in trades academies in 2017 was just slightly higher than 2016 (7,030 compared with 6,900). This represents the first slowing of the growth since 2011, when there were 700 students.

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 industry training organisations under the Industry Training and Apprenticeships Act 1992. Traineeships are industry training programmes that do not meet the New Zealand Apprenticeships credit and level 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 Industry Training and Apprenticeships Act 1992. 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 polytechnics, and is sometimes referred to as ‘Managed Apprenticeships’.

Data sources - 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.

Rounding - Data has been rounded to three significant figures. Under this system, numbers are rounded according to size. Numbers ranging in the hundreds are rounded to the nearest ten, so 956 becomes 960. Numbers in the thousands are rounded to the nearest hundred, so 9,560 becomes 9,600. For numbers in the tens of thousands, numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand, so 95,650 becomes 96,000, and so on. Single or double digit numbers, except percentages and rates, are rounded to the nearest five.

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.

Prior Qualifications - The results reported are estimates based on the distribution of trainees and apprentices whose previous highest qualification was known. For 2017, previous qualification was known for 77 percent of trainees and 90 percent of apprentices.

Training activity - Training activity is prioritised to entrance and exit activities. Trainees who are continuing training started in a prior year are classified as exiting the system if they leave training in the reference year. Trainees who are continuing their training, but do not leave training in the reference year, are classified as continuing.

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