Workforce Development Councils (WDC)

As part of the Reform of Vocational Education, HITO’s previous responsibility for standard setting (qualification reviews and provider moderation) passes to two Workforce Development Councils (WDC) on 4 October 2021.

Please contact your new WDC If you are looking for information on:

  • Qualification and unit standard development and reviews
  • Applications for programme endorsement support letters
  • Consent to assess applications
  • Pre moderation applications
  • Post moderation submissions

The split in WDC coverage for qualifications is as follows:

Toi Mai WDC –

  • Hairdressing
  • Barbering
  • Makeup Artistry

Toitū Te Waiora WDC –

  • Nail Technology
  • Beauty Therapy


What is the Reform of Vocational Education?

In 2019, the Government announced a Reform of Vocational Education.

The key purpose of the Government’s Reform of Vocational Education is to create a strong, unified, sustainable vocational education system that delivers the skills that learners, employers and communities need to thrive.

As the Reform of Vocational Education is currently being implemented, we wanted to let you know what this means for you and for HITO.


What will happen to apprenticeships and on-job training?

The Minister has said that apprenticeships and on-job training will continue to be an important part of the new system. The reforms are to be implemented to ensure minimal disruption to apprentices and employers. Employers and apprentices will continue to be supported through apprenticeship programmes in the workplace.

Our understanding is that you should not expect to see any disruption to your current training agreement. Our current Sales and Training Advisors will continue to visit apprentices and employers and our services will continue to be provided.


What changes have been made so far?

Since the reform announcement, the following changes have been made:

  • Six new Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) have been set up to take on the previous standard-setting roles of ITOs.
  • All 16 polytechnics have become subsidiaries of Te Pūkenga (originally called New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology).
  • All 11 Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) are now Transitional ITOs and must transition their responsibilities for standard-setting and supporting work-based qualifications to other organisations by the end of 2022.
  • The setup of 5 Centres of Vocational Excellence and 16 Regional Skills Leadership Groups is underway.
  • A new unified vocational education funding system is being designed for implementation in 2023.

In order to make the changes, the Government has changed the law. The new Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Act came into effect in April 2020.

What does this mean for qualification reviews?

Your involvement with qualification reviews and unit standards will now come through the Workforce Development Councils, rather than through HITO.

As part of the reform, HITO’s responsibility for standard-setting, which includes developing and moderating qualifications, will transfer to two Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) by 4 October 2021.

Toi Mai, the Creative, Cultural, Recreation and Technology WDC will take responsibility for the hairdressing, barbering and makeup artistry qualifications.

Community, Health, Education and Social Services WDC will take responsibility for qualifications in beauty therapies and nail technologies.

Until September, HITO will continue the reviews of Hair and Beauty qualifications and unit standards, and then will pass over the work to the new WDCs so they can take it forward.

What does this mean for apprenticeship training?

As part of the reform, HITO must transition the role of supporting apprenticeship training to a government-approved vocational education provider by the end of 2022. The three government-approved options being considered for transition are:

  • Te Pūkenga (the amalgamation of all 16 polytechnics),
  • Te Wānanga O Aotearoa (a large state sector tertiary organisation) and
  • a Private Training Establishment (a smaller privately owned vocational education organisation).

All options for transition of support for apprentice training being considered involve a ‘lift and shift’ of existing functions, systems, and staff to minimise disruption to employers and apprentices. We will continue to provide our current services whilst they are integrated into the new provider in a seamless manner.

HITO’s Board and management are gathering more information on transition options and will keep everyone informed about any decisions.

HITO will work to ensure minimal disruption is made to current employers and apprentices during the transition process.

Even after the transition, you should expect to see our current business model continue with Sales and Training Advisors visiting apprentices and employers on a regular basis, and a continuation of the current services offered by HITO.

If you would like more information or have questions, please contact us at or call us on (04) 499 1180.