Unified Funding System will provide more than $850 million per year for vocational education and training

We welcome the announcement this week of the new Unified Funding System (UFS), which will provide more than $850 million per year for vocational education and training provision on an ongoing basis from 1 January 2023. This new system will see a 70% increase in the funding rate for work-based provision in the food and fibre sector.

We look forward to working with members of our food and fibre industry and education sector partners to maximise the opportunities available through these increases to support learners in our sector. These include:

  • $316 million of funding that will top up and extend the Apprenticeship Boost Initiative, Mana in Mahi, and Māori Trades Training to lift economic inclusion and support employment opportunities by helping businesses take on apprentices.
  • $19 million increase in funding for vocational education in the food and fibre sector.
  • $40 million to help transformation in the forestry, wood processing, food and beverage ,and fisheries sectors
  • $155 million towards supporting job opportunities for Māori by continuing the Cadetships Programme, and encouraging public sector procurement opportunities for Māori businesses.

These form part of a total food and fibre sector budget investment of more than $1 billion (including Climate Emissions Reduction plan and other pre-Budget announcements).

We are encouraged by the increase of learner component rates for 2023, including for learners with low prior achievement, disabled learners, Māori and Pacific ākonga. We hope that this targeted approach will support providers to further engage learners who have previously been underserved within the vocational education system, and will set learners up with the skills and knowledge they need for success today and into the future.

The unified funding system (UFS) is the funding element of the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE), a transformation of the vocational education system that puts learners and their whānau at the centre, that intends to create a system fit for the future of work and that delivers the skills that learners, employers and communities need to thrive.

As the voice of the food and fibre sector, we will work with universities to address any impact of these changes on vocational education and training through universities.