New Zealand's Workplace-based Learners

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 2018. 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.

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. For more information on apprenticeship definitions, please refer to the TEC fact sheet.

What does the 2018 data show?

The data for the 12 months to December 2018 shows:

  • The number of decreased in 2018, but there was an increase in apprentices. The number of trainees decreased by 12 percent to 88,000, while apprenticeship numbers increased by 9 percent to 50,000. Overall, the total number of industry training learners decreased by 5 percent to 138,000.
  • Holding post-school qualifications continues to be common for new entrants to industry training. For 2018 57 percent of trainees and 47 percent of apprentices had a prior tertiary qualification.
  • The number of trainees completing qualifications decreased, apprentice qualification numbers were stable, and the 5 year completion rate for both groups dropped. In 2018, 32,000 trainees completed a qualification, down 16 percent on 2017. The proportion of trainees completing a qualification within five years of starting study decreased by 5 percentage points to 60 percent. The rate for apprentices dropped by 4 percentage points to 53 percent.

Who participates?

The overall number of trainees and apprentices fell 5 percent in 2018 (to 138,000). The number of trainees decreased by 12 percent (to 88,000), while apprentices increased by 9 percent (to 50,000). This continues the decrease in industry training participation seen in 2017 and, once again, was driven by a decrease in new entrant trainees (by 19 percent). The amount of training delivered to trainees (measured in standard training measures, or STMs) was 12 percent lower than in 2017 (see tables 1 and 2).

The proportion of the workforce participating as trainees dropped to 3.3 percent in 2018, down from 3.9 percent, while the proportion of the workforce who were apprentices remained stable in 2018, at 1.9 percent. The male trainee participation rate continued to decrease (3.3 percent compared with 4.0 percent in 2017). Female trainees as a percentage of all females in employment also decreased from 3.8 in 2017 to 3.4 in 2018. Participation rates for male and female apprentices stayed relatively stable. In 2018, forty-eight percent of trainees and 13 percent of apprentices were women (see figures 1 and 2)

Table 1: Trainees 2013-2018
YearTotalLearners Proportion
Female
(%)
Workforce Participation (%) Delivered
STMs
MaleFemaleMaleFemaleTotal
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 43 4.6 3.8 4.3 27,000
2017 100,000 54,000 45,000 46 4,0 3.8 3.9 26,000
2018 88,000 46,000 42,000 48 3.3 3.4 3.3 24,000
Table 2: Apprentices 2013-2018
YearTotalLearners Proportion
Female
(%)
Workforce Participation (%) Delivered
STMs
MaleFemaleMaleFemaleTotal
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 0.4 1.8 20,000
2015 42,000 37,000 4,600 11 3.0 0.4 1.8 20,000
2016 43,000 38,000 4,700 11 2.9 0.4 1.7 19,000
2017 46,000 40,000 5,700 12 3.0 0.5 1.8 19,000
2018 50,000 44,000 6,700 13 3.2 0.5 1.9 21,000
Figure 1: Trainees by gender 2009-2018

Figure 1: Trainees by gender 2009-2018

Figure 2: Apprentices by gender 2009-2018

Figure 2: Apprentices by gender 2009-2018

A further 1,305 learners were reported as Managed Apprentices for 2018. These apprenticeships are administered by tertiary organisations such as polytechnics and institutes of technology.

Age group

The age split of trainees in 2018 was consistent with 2017 with eight percent of trainees being under 25 years and 35% between 20 and 29 years. However, the trend towards older apprentices continued, with the proportion aged under 25 years decreasing to 47 percent (from 49 percent in 2017).

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 2018, 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 increases were for Māori and Pacific Peoples. Participation continues to be highest for apprentices of Māori ethnicity.

Figure 3: Trainee participation by ethnicity 2013-2018

Figure 3: Trainee participation by ethnicity 2013-2018

Figure 4: Apprentice participation by ethnicity 2013-2018

Figure 4: Apprentice participation by ethnicity 2012-2018

Prior Qualifications

A high proportion of industry training learners hold tertiary qualifications gained prior to starting training. Overall, 57 percent of trainees and 47 percent of apprentices in 2018 already held a tertiary certificate, diploma, or bachelors or above degree. For trainees this was consistent with 2017, while for apprentices this was 1 percentage point higher. However, when looking at new entrant apprentices only, the proportion holding a tertiary degree, certificate or diploma dropped back to the 2016 level of 46 percent, down from a high of 50 percent in 2017.

What industries do they participate in?

The industries with the most trainees in 2018 were; healthcare and social assistance (20 percent of trainees or 18,000 learners), manufacturing (17 percent or 15,000 learners), and agriculture, forestry and fishing (12 percent or 10,000 learners). Construction had the highest number of apprentices (39 percent or 20,000 learners), followed by retail, trade and accommodation (14 percent or 6,500 learners), and manufacturing (11 percent or 5,700 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 2014 to 2018. Female workers have much lower rates of participation in apprenticeships. For example, during the 2018 year 9 percent of males working in construction were apprentices compared to 1 percent of women.

Figure 5: Distribution of trainees and apprentices by industry 2018

Figure 5: Distribution of trainees and apprentices by industry 2018

Figure 6: Apprenticeship participation by gender 2014-2018

Figure 6: Apprenticeship participation by gender 2014-2018

What training activity did learners undertake?

The number of new trainees in 2018 fell to 30,000 from 37,000 in 2017. 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 main activity was entering a traineeship decreased by three percentage points to 34 percent. The proportion continuing training from a previous year was steady at 24 percent, and the proportion that left training increased by three percentage points to 42 percent.

In contrast, the proportion of apprentices that were new entrants in 2018 increased slightly to 27 percent (or 13,500 apprentices), from 26 percent in 2017. The proportion continuing training from a previous year continued to decrease, dropping seven percentage points to 41 percent, and the proportion exiting training increased by six percentage points to 32 percent (see figure 8).

Figure 7: Proportion of trainees by main activity 2009-2018

 Figure 7: Proportion of trainees by main activity 2009-2018

Figure 8: Proportion of apprentices by main activity 2009-2018

Figure 8: Apprenticeship participation by gender 2019-2018

What qualifications did they achieve?

A total of 9,400 apprentices completed a qualification in 2018, similar to 2017. The number of trainees that completed a qualification decreased 16 percent (to 32,000) .  A total of 34,000 qualifications were awarded to trainees, compared to 11,000 qualifications awarded to apprentices in 2018.

As a consequence of the continued decrease in lower level training, 71 percent of the qualifications achieved by trainees were at Level 3 or higher, up from 66 percent in 2017. The proportion of qualifications awarded to trainees at Level 1 or Level 2 dropped to 29 percent from 34 percent in 2017. 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 dropped to 60 percent in 2018, after four years of increases (see figure 9). For apprentices, the five year completion rate dropped to 53 percent in 2018, continuing a recent downward trend (see figure 10).

Figure 9: Five-year trainee qualification completion rates 2009-2018

Figure 9: Five-year trainee qualification completion rates 2009-2018

Figure 10: Five-year apprentice qualification completion rates 2009-2018

Figure 10: Five-year apprentice qualification completion rates 2009-2018

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 2018 was 2 percent lower than 2017 (13,765 students). Gateway students achieved 203,050 credits in 2018, an average of 15 per student. This is a drop from 2017 when the average was 23 credits achieved per student.

Trades Academies

The number of students that participated in trades academies decreased from a peak of 7,035 students in 2017 to 6,785 students in 2018.

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.

Ethnicity - Learners may report multiple ethnicities and so may be counted in more than one ethnic group.  The acronym MELAA refers to Middle Eastern/ Latin American/ African.

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.