Frequently Asked Questions


Established as part of the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE), Toi Mai is the Ohu Ahumahi Workforce Development Council (WDC) for Ngā Peka o Toi. See the Ohu Ahumahi Workforce Development Councils section below to learn more.

Following the COVID-19 Recovery Baseline Engagement and Data Project of October 2022, our industries were divided across five (now six) subsector peka (branches). Now, these peka are represented under the umbrella denomination of Ngā Peka o Toi, and are:

Under these peka fall the likes of the creative, technology, entertainment, hairdressing and barbering, makeup artistry, skincare, journalism, radio and television broadcasting, gambling, and sports and recreation industries.

Toi Mai is the Ohu Ahumahi Workforce Development Council for Ngā Peka o Toi, our kaupapa is to be the voice of the creative, cultural, recreation and technology industries in the reform of vocational education.

We engage with industry, whānau/hāpu/iwi, Māori businesses and underrepresented communities such as Pacific peoples, tāngata whaikaha, wāhine, the neurodiverse and LGBTQIA+ to ensure the vocational education system meets industry and workforce development needs.

Our mission is to ensure Te Wao Nui o Toi is supported by a skilled and thriving workforce and other industries are supported to access the creative and technology skills they need for the future of work.

Through industry engagement and research, we find gaps and missing links in the training of our workforces, which inform workforce development plans and recommendations to transform and strengthen our industries. Offering advice and actionable recommendations to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and beyond, we boost the diverse trained workforces to champion the hauora of Aotearoa.

Through provider and school engagement, we break down barriers facing our rangatahi – barriers cultural or otherwise which prevent the diverse range of learners entering the workforce from seeing, striving for and attaining positions in industries that are short on skilled local talent. With major discrepancies in workforce demographics and rangatahi identities, we focus on empowering our underrepresented communities to achieve a vocational landscape reflective of who we are as a motu.

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Ohu Ahumahi Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) ensure that the vocational education system meets industry needs and gives a stronger voice to Māori business and iwi development. WDCs will give their industries and employers greater leadership and influence across vocational education.

Success for WDCs will mean employers – including Māori business owners – are confident that vocational education graduates are ready for work and that the future skills needs of their industry will be addressed by the vocational education system.

As well as directly benefiting employers, WDCs will improve confidence and outcomes across the sector. Providers can be confident their programmes are relevant to employers and endorsed by industry. Learners can be confident their qualifications will meet employers’ expectations and national industry standards.

Six WDCs were set up to represent industries in Aotearoa New Zealand. These are:

Hanga-Aro-Rau – Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics WDC

Muka Tangata – People, Food and Fibre WDC

Ringa Hora – Services WDC

Toi Mai – Creative, Cultural, Recreation and Technology WDC

Toitū te Waiora – Community, Health, Education and Social Services WDC

Waihanga Ara Rau – Construction and Infrastructure WDC

Each WDC will work with industry and employers to understand the skills that are needed. This information will be passed to education and training providers, who will be expected to create learning programmes that will give people relevant skills to address future workforce needs.

WDCs will lead the development of industry qualifications; they will set industry standards and assess training provision against these industry standards. Where appropriate, WDCs will set and help with capstone assessments at the end of a qualification. Industry standards will be consistently applied across the motu and across all modes of learning, whether on the job (such as apprenticeships), on campus or online.

WDCs will also endorse vocational education programmes prior to them being approved by NZQA.

As well as engaging with industry and employers, each WDC will work collaboratively across the vocational education sector. WDCs will engage with Regional Skills Leadership Groups (RSLGs), Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) and Providers (Te Pūkenga, Wānanga and Private Training Establishments (PTEs).

WDCS will also engage with a range of parties to help inform and prioritise their service delivery. These include the Ministry of Education (MoE), Advocacy Groups, Learners, Te Taumata Aronui, Government agencies and schools.

The key functions of WDCs are set out in Section 366 of the Education and Training Act 2020.

These functions are:

  • to provide skills and workforce leadership for the specified industries, including by identifying their current and future needs and advocating for those needs to be met through its work with the industries and with schools, providers, regional bodies and the Government
  • to develop, set and maintain skill standards
  • to develop and maintain industry qualifications for listing on the Qualifications Framework and to maintain qualifications for which it has become the qualifications developer
  • to develop and maintain training schemes
  • to develop and maintain training packages
  • to develop, set and maintain capstone assessments based on the needs of the specified industries
  • to decide whether to endorse programmes developed by providers
  • to carry out moderation activities in relation to any standards and capstone assessments it sets
  • to provide employers with brokerage and advisory services approved by TEC
  • to advise TEC about its overall investment in vocational education and training and the mix of vocational education and training needed for the one or more specified industries covered by the workforce development council in the manner required by TEC
  • to represent the interests of the specified industries
  • to perform any other functions conferred on it by the Minister in relation to the specified industries.

For the purposes of subsection (1)(g), the Minister may, by notice in the Gazette, specify criteria relating to when a workforce development council must endorse a programme before it may be approved by NZQA under section 439.

Expectations about the way WDCs will work are set out in section 369 of the Education and Training Act 2020.

In performing their functions, WDCs must take into account the needs of employers and employees in the industries covered by their WDC; we must also consider national and regional interests. WDCs are also expected to collaborate with providers – including wānanga – other WDCs and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

As a priority WDCs must have regard for the needs of Māori and other population groups identified in the Tertiary Education Strategy. We must also comply with any agreed quality assurance requirements set by NZQA relating to the performance of our functions.

Moderation requirements are outlined in the Consent and Moderation Requirements documents. A coversheet has been added to each CMR to identify the relevant WDCs. More information about CMRs can be found here.

See the sectors Toi Mai represents here.

Internal moderation: Providers (including schools) must undertake internal moderation. This helps to ensure consistency of assessment within organisations, over time and between assessors.

National external moderation: WDCs undertake national external moderation to maintain the consistency of assessment nationally, across all provider types.

Providers required to submit or implement an Action Plan or a Performance Improvement Plan with a TITO will be contacted by a Workforce Development Council to clarify requirements for moderation post 4 October 2021. This may include on-site or post-assessment moderation.

We aim to complete a pre-assessment moderation report within 20 working days.

Yes. If assessment materials are modified by the provider, then they must be submitted to the relevant WDC for pre-assessment moderation. Please refer to the relevant CMR for pre-assessment moderation requirements. If you are unsure whether you need to submit materials for pre-assessment moderation, contact the relevant WDC.

Material that has been pre-assessment moderated by a TITO and is unchanged will be recognised as having met the CMR requirements. However, if assessment materials are modified by the provider, then they must be submitted to the relevant WDC for pre-assessment moderation.

Our moderation plan is set at the beginning of each year. For the most up-to-date information about moderation, subscribe to the quarterly Quality Assurance pānui, Te Toa Takitini, by emailing [email protected]

Yes, it is a legal requirement that we do. NZQA is responsible for monitoring the quality and results of WDC systems and procedures for managing national external moderation systems. WDCs report annually to NZQA on moderation outcomes and meet with NZQA to discuss national external moderation matters.

These are principles to ensure there is a common understanding of standard setting body responsibilities. This is in relation to Rule 10.3 of the Directory of Assessment Standards Listing and Operational Rules 2021. The principles also provide a common frame of reference for NZQA’s monitoring WDCs. For more information, please see this link here.

We aim to complete an appeal within 20 working days.

There is no charge for WDC moderation activities, including pre-assessment moderation, on-site moderation and post assessment moderation.

You can access the CMRs on the NZQA website at this link.

A coversheet has been added to each CMR to identify the relevant WDCs. More information about CMRs can be found here.

CMRs will be reviewed and rationalised over time. When changes to CMRs are made, WDCs will notify providers and all affected parties.

Consent to assess is a process that allows education organisations to assess unit or achievement standards listed on the Directory of Assessment Standards (DAS) and award credit for them. Consent to assess is granted by New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA).

Providers need to apply for consent to assess if they want to assess against standards listed on the DAS.

Providers need to apply for consent to assess when they want to extend their consent to assess against standards, for example adding or changing a standard in a programme or curriculum.

As part of the NZQA application process, providers will need to supply a letter of support from the relevant WDC. This letter attests that the provider meets the specific industry requirements, including having the resources to effectively deliver and assess the unit standards.

Consent to assess closes early October every year. Please see this page for more information.

Find the Consent and Moderation Requirements (CMR) documents you’re looking for by searching for the reference number here on the NZQA website.

Generally, consent to assess involves the provider, the WDC, and NZQA.

Both schools and providers can apply for consent to assess at the individual unit standard level, but only providers can apply for domain level.

In these instances, the WDC will write to the Provider setting out the grounds for their concerns. The letter will cover how the concerns can be constructively addressed and the timeline for review.

A WDC will only withhold a letter of support as a last resort. This is where all attempts to address outstanding issues with the applications have been exhausted. A WDC will aim to work collaboratively with providers in these cases.

Providers have an obligation to maintain their consent to assess on an ongoing basis and are subject to the national external moderation system.

We do not charge for our role in consent to assess applications.

However, NZQA does charge for their role in consent to assess applications. Please see the relevant NZQA fees here.

We will aim to provider letters of support for consent to assess applications within 20 working days. However, we recommend that you allow at least three months for the total consent to assess process, including NZQA approval.

More information on the NZQA part of consent to assess can be found at their website and in the following document:

Guidelines for applying for consent to assess standards listed on the Directory of Assessment Standards

We will complete any consent to assess applications that were initially approved or supported by a TITO.

TITO letters of support are still valid for the time period specified on the letter. This approval remains valid if the version or level of the unit standard has changed. You can use this letter to progress your application with NZQA.

WDCs are the qualification developers for the industries we represent. Providers require WDC endorsement before NZQA will approve a programme that leads to a qualification.

WDC considerations focus on specific industries and reflect WDC functions as detailed in Section 366 of the Education and Training Act 2020 and each WDC’s Orders in Council.

NZQA has the legal responsibility for programme approval under section 439 of the Education and Training Act 2020.

In considering the programme:

WDC asks: How well does the programme meet industry need?

NZQA asks: How well does the programme design match the qualification outcomes and strategic purpose?

For any new or Type 2 change to an existing programme providers need to request programme endorsement from a WDC before submitting it to NZQA to seek approval. We encourage providers to engage with us at the earliest opportunity so we can better support and progress the application.

Type 1 changes do not need to come to us, but will still need to be approved by NZQA.

The considerations are the factors your application should address. The WDC will use these to measure or consider your programme for endorsement. The consideration questions differ from the old programme ‘support’ questions.

The six considerations are:

  • programme content
  • equity for learners
  • programme engagement and consultation
  • te ao Māori
  • Pacific languages and learners
  • disabled people.

We understand that some considerations may not be applicable to your programme. Please contact us to check or ask for clarification before you start to develop your programme.

Yes, we encourage you to do this. Click here to get in touch.


You must submit your request to the WDC that is the qualification developer for the qualification that your programme leads to. Search for the qualification by keyword or qualification number on the NZQF. Click on the qualification to view the name of the current WDC qualification developer.

The WDC will be in touch directly to help resolve any concerns about the programme.

There is no fee for us to review and provide support for your proposed programme.

Any further questions?

If your question wasn’t answered in the FAQs above, check out these further FAQ docs:

Ohu Ahumahi FAQs

Programme endorsement FAQs

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