The Government announced in February 2019 the biggest tertiary education reform since 1990.

The Education Minister Hon Chris Hipkins proposes three main changes as part of the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE).

They are:

  1. Replacing the current Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) with Industry Skills Bodies, and industry skills training being rolled into the local ITPs, such as NMIT.
  2. Merging the 16 existing Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs), including NMIT, and establishing a central New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology to govern them.
  3. Creating a unified vocational education funding system.


NZARH is a not for profit organisation and is the only organisation that is truly representative of hairdressers in business today .

We speak for industry in the broadest sense, the breadth of the membership represents all sectors making us the single most effective lobbying voice to government.

NZARH have an open relationship with The Hairdressing Industry Training Organisation, (HITO) who is regarded as being a sister organisation. NZARH agrees that HITO’s responsibilities include providing a leadership role in industry, maintain qualifications and co-ordinate the apprenticeship system.

NZARH Submission to Government in opposition of its intention:

The NZARH submission to Government on 5 April carried an unequivocal statement gleaned from stakeholder responses that indicated strong disagreement with the Government’s intention to bring a radical step change to the vocational education sector. This included over 1000 responses to a survey where we asked members and other stakeholders the following questions.

  1. Did they think that the government’s proposal to reform the vocational trading system will increase the number of apprentices gaining a hairdressing or barbering qualification that is suitable for our industry at a cost that the country can afford?
  2. Did they think the reformed vocational training system will effectively meet the hairdressing industry’s needs in terms of providing relevant skills now and in the future?
  3. Will the proposed reforms encourage more people to take up apprenticeships in salons in the future?
  4. Did they think the establishment of an Industry Skills Body will give hairdressers more say about skills development?
  5. Did they think that all the current ITO’s roles should be undertaken and funded by a single Government-owned institute managed by the new NZ Institute of Skills and Technology and the Tertiary Education Commission?

Responses identified the following risks:

  • Apprenticeship training relationships may not be well managed using the principles outlined in the Review of Vocational Education.
  • Small businesses and those in non-urban locations which make up the majority of the hairdressing and barbering industry may be disadvantaged.
  • The cost for employers undertaking vocational training may increase and employer engagement will decrease resulting in further industry shortages

The responses were collected at open meetings, an industry survey and anecdotally.

Feedback received said that:

  • Change of this magnitude is not desired and will not help employers recruit and train apprentices.
  • Government should not separate the responsibility for arranging training from standard-setting. Our ITO currently provides an effective service at an acceptable cost.
  • Employers are concerned that that Institutes of Skills and Technology will not be positioned to understand the needs of industry in terms of on job training and employment relationships.
  • Employers who train apprentices are concerned that they will not be able to influence programmes and providers.
  • They are concerned about current classroom based industry training that does not expose learners to the commercial environment. Only apprenticeships ensure that graduates are work competent as hairdressers and barbers.
  • They are concerned that under the unified funding model Training Providers will continue to compete for lucrative full time training to the detriment of apprenticeship training in salons.
  • They are concerned that apprenticeships will be placed at risk unless it is promoted as the preferred training method and that best option is a mix of work and provider-based learning.
  • They are concerned that losing the ITO will mean the loss of quality support from an organisation that is totally focused on our industry needs.
  • They ask that Government look to incentivising employers to train apprentices

The NZARH is grateful to its members for the responses that have enabled us to make a submission to Government on your behalf. It is committed to the hair and barbering industry and will continue to advocate vigorously to urge the Government not to throw the baby out with the bathwater and to take a measured approach to change that will mitigate the risk of denigrating the perception of apprenticeship as the training option or losing the wealth of knowledge in the ITO sector about the very industries that they have worked for over the last 25 years.

We urge you to make your voice count. Continue to communicate with us on this topic so that we can represent your views.

You can let us know your thoughts and views through our Facebook page or email HERE.