Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the questions to expand their respective answers.

What is the NZQA Qualification Review process?

This is not Targeted Review of Qualifications (TRoQ).  NZQA are currently reviewing their Qualification Review Guidelines.  In the meantime, HITO have been working through this process with NZQA, to ensure we are following the correct steps.

What steps are required in a Qualification Review process?

*Periodically notify NZQA as we move through these steps (HITO are doing this).

Steps so Far:

  • Consider (as currently appropriate) Berl/Infometrics, workforce and skill trends, skill profiles across industries, EPI data, outcomes, stakeholder profile and feedback
  • General information gathering that identified a need for further stakeholder engagement
  • Pre-assess need for review: Forums with Industry, Providers & Apprentices
  • Notification to NZQA of review – triggered by initial feedback and further feedback in forums
  • Formulation of a draft qualification showing potential change (overview)
  • Communicating and publicising through internal channels, website, email, text, social media, utilising existing groups for feedback for one (1) month
  • Extend feedback if deemed necessary (we are here now)
  • Collate information and prepare recommendations for presentation to Hairdressing Advisory Group and Board

Depending on the outcome of feedback and recommendations will determine the next steps:

  1. Do not alter the qualification document
  • The qualification remains the same


  1. Make changes to the qualification document:
  • Provide rationale, recommendations and detail to a qualification document and put out for electronic/digital review* for two (2) weeks
  • Provide a working meeting with affected accredited Tertiary Education Organisations (TEO’s) for this qualification to finalise the details
  • Other recommendations, as seen fit by the Board
  • Submit application and evidence of stakeholder consultation to NZQA

*Please note that NZQA consider digital consultation to be adequate.  We have gone beyond this to try and capture our stakeholders that do not engage in this medium.

Why are we reviewing the NZ Certificate in Hairdressing (Professional Stylist) (Level 4) qualification again so soon after the TRoQ review?

With a new CEO and team at HITO, many introductory meetings were set up throughout the country to check-in to what was working and what was not.  Declining apprenticeship numbers, and a lack of retention and completion was a concern for most and much of the feedback was that the (Professional Stylist) qualification in the current format was not engaging or retaining learners and that the method for getting there had become far too prescriptive and took too many years.

HITO ran forums throughout the country to assess the appetite for a review of this qualification.  This reached some, but not all, however the majority of the feedback was very positive towards looking at this qualification in further detail.

HITO have put out a draft qualification (in direct response to the initial general guidance) to get a larger amount of feedback, that is specific to this qualification, from as many areas as possible.

Please note, that general feedback is only general guidance.  To get specific feedback, we needed to put up a draft of what it might look like for people to understand.  Many stakeholders are industry members, not necessarily educators, and we don’t expect everyone to fully understand what a qualification document means.

Who has HITO involved in the consultation as part of the review?

HITO have run forums (Industry, Provider, Apprentice) throughout the country, which came up with recurrent themes around the issues.  We went to our Hairdressing Advisory Group and our Board prior to posting this qualification online for feedback.  We have many experienced representatives involved, who have been going out to their members (NZARH, RAC groups, ITP and PTE groups), and we are now getting a variety of responses from all areas. Requests for feedback have also been promoted through email, text message (repeatedly) and social media.

The qualification document has been on the website for one (1) month and we have extended the feedback time for an extra two (2) weeks.

We are currently collating all feedback for our advisory group and the HITO Board to consider for the next steps.  We are thrilled with the level of engagement and feedback we are receiving.

Are HITO reviewing the whole suite of qualifications? What is happening to Salon Support and Emerging Stylist and the Advanced Cutting and Advanced Colouring qualifications?

We are not looking at reviewing these qualifications, there has been no request to do so before the scheduled review date in 2020. To review these would be extremely costly and would be repeating TRoQ. New Zealand Certificate (Professional Stylist) (Level 4), is the only qualification we believe needs to change at this time. This affects many, but specifically it affects industry and apprentices, HITO and four accredited providers. It is important that we consider where Professional Stylist sits holistically, but we have not begun a review of the suite of hairdressing qualifications and will not be.

Why have HITO published a draft proposal, rather than asking for industry and providers to come and create a new document?

A lot of time and energy was spent creating the suite of hairdressing qualifications in TRoQ.  HITO want to be very clear, that we are not wanting to re-create/produce that work, we are seeking specific and thorough feedback to one qualification document only.  We have made changes to this document based on initial feedback and wanted to get further feedback on the adjustments we have made. We do not believe it needs re-building, but adjustments only.

Who can award the qualification? Can providers and HITO award the qualification?

Currently, HITO and four other NZQA accredited tertiary education organisations are able to award this qualification.  As per the Education Act, there needs to be two pathways to a qualification.  This will not be changing in the qualification document.  Please note, this has occurred as per agreed qualifications of the previous Targeted Review of Qualifications (TRoQ) and this is standard practice across other industries.

What about development costs for the affected accredited providers?

HITO fully understand the implications and costs involved when changes are made to a qualification, (they affect us too).  HITO are very happy to have feedback around transition times and want to reassure that any transition would be sensible.  No learner should be disadvantaged by changes and all learners will be able to complete the qualification they are currently enrolled in (as per any transition arrangement).

How will Recognition of Prior Learning be accommodated?

Any Tertiary Education Organisation has a requirement to have a robust and clear process in place to ensure that the learner is not disadvantaged or expected to repeat any similar learning that can be recognised under CRT/RPL.  RPL process is dealt with as per TEO in their programme of industry training/programme of study document that is approved by NZQA.  NZQA are currently reviewing their Credit Recognition Transfer /Recognition of Prior Learning (CRT/RPL) guidelines.

Once unit standards are reviewed/re-developed, HITO will provide a mapping document.

What about the programme delivery?

The pathway/method to gaining a qualification is detailed in either a Programme of Industry Training (HITO) or a Programme of Study (Providers) and is required to be approved by NZQA.  Both pathways currently lead to the current qualification.  All programmes are monitored through a variety of quality, moderation and consistency methods between both NZQA and HITO.

Programme detail includes how it is delivered (e.g. whether it is offered full-time or part-time and how it is assessed).The current qualification has unit standards as the compulsory assessment method, which does restrict the assessment to being unit standard based. The draft has removed these as compulsory/mandatory.

One of the reasons, is that many unit standards have been identified as problematic and they will be reviewed/re-developed.

If the qualification document does not list unit standards it means that either unit standard or modular assessment could be used.

What about duration?

Please see above comments relating to programmes (rather than qualifications).

The duration of the programme is not necessarily two years full-time, and in the apprenticeship model, as offered by HITO, it would not be.

HITO are looking at equivalency in this qualification in comparison to other similar qualifications across a variety of industries, at Level 4.  240 credits at Level 4, is not considered a condensed qualification or speed-delivery.  Quantity of credits is not necessarily quality of credits and we need to carefully consider this and the engagement, retention and completion for a graduate at Level 4 and what ‘work-ready’ and ‘mileage on the clock’ really means.

What about the unit standards?

This is not part of a qualification document review.  However, we agree it needs to be looked at holistically.  HITO are working on re-drafting these at present also, again – to gain specific and thorough feedback, rather than create new from scratch.  Qualification Review application is the first part, the unit standard review and development is the second part.  HITO are putting together a unit standard review spreadsheet, so that everyone can see what is up for review in a transparent way.

What about the final unit standards as they currently sit for assessment?

This is not part of a qualification document review.  The above comment applies.  However, they currently still sit in there and we have a large amount of feedback about how they are offered (pro/con).  We agree it needs to be looked at and that we need to look at ‘mileage on the clock’ and how we can work with NZARH regarding registration.  Keen for more feedback here please.

Who will be assessing?

This is not part of a qualification document review. The above comment applies. Again, this is dependent on which accredited Training Education Organisation (TEO) is delivering this.

HITO have already commenced work this year, with updating our Industry Assessor contracts and updating our training package for Assessors for next year.  If there are any changes, any relevant alterations to an assessment model will be updated after the unit standards are updated.

Thank you for your feedback, we will be updating our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) as we receive clusters of feedback.

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