Our Standards and Accreditation Board met earlier in the month and agreed to grant provisional accreditation to the University of Waikato’s new BE (Hons) programme in Civil Engineering.

Waikato started offering the programme in 2017 and produced their first graduates at the end of 2019. These were students from a small cohort who transferred into year two of the programme from other majors. Once the University has produced one to two more cohorts of graduates, an application for full accreditation will be able to be made. If this is successful, full accreditation would likely be backdated to cover earlier graduates from the programme.

Review of Vocational Education (RoVE)

The Government announced a significant trades training package as part of its Budget. As part of this, the formation of all six Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) will be fast-tracked for the establishment by the target date of October 2020. This is ahead of the original target of mid-2021, to help support New Zealand’s Covid-19 recovery.

In support of this decision the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) note that:

  • Covid-19 has resulted in unprecedented impacts on the New Zealand industry, employers, learners and communities. We need a strong, unified, sustainable vocational education and training system to help lessen the social and economic impacts of Covid-19.
  • Early formation of all six WDCs will be enabled by the establishment of six skills-based interim Establishment Boards (iEBs) – one for each of the six WDCs. The original ‘Establishment Working Groups’ are superseded by the iEBs.
  • As we move into a new era of vocational education and training, the spirit of collaboration that underpins the reform will be more important than ever, particularly in the wake of Covid-19. The new system will be focused on supporting learners, employers, providers, industry and regions.

In parallel with the fast-tracking of the establishment of the six WDC’s, Engineering New Zealand has been involved in discussions with the TEC over the scope of individual coverage of individual WDCs and is also represented on a WDC reference group that is supporting the development of the framework within which individual WDCs will operate.

Read more on the WDC reference group

Our primary interest through this involvement is to ensure that responsibility for engineering technician education is not distributed across multiple WDCs and that the integrity of the NZ Diploma in Engineering (NZDE), and the key role played by the NZ Board for Engineering Diplomas, is maintained and enhanced through the change process.