4 June 2024

Why New Zealand is the Right Destination for Vocational and Applied Education | Study With New Zealand

Melanie Mills
Global Digital and Technology Manager | Education New Zealand

When it comes to vocational and applied education, there are few better places to study in the world than New Zealand.

Not only is New Zealand world-ranked at providing students with relevant work skills, real-world experience, and globally recognised qualifications, but there are also institutions located across the country, giving you the choice of the provider and location that suit you best.

There are two main provider types you can choose between for vocational/applied studies in New Zealand:  Te Pūkenga | New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology* and various Private Training Establishments (PTEs). Te Pūkenga is a tertiary education network established by the New Zealand Government, while PTEs are not publicly owned but are still regulated by the government qualifications authority. 

Vocational education is career-focused learning that takes things out of the classroom and into the real world. The goal is to help you get more than just a qualification. It's about getting you exactly the skills and knowledge you need to walk into a great job and give back to your family, community and the world.  When it comes to the range of courses offered by these providers, you’ll quickly find there’s plenty available! Popular fields of study include arts, STEM, hospitality, business, and trades, with dozens of programmes within each category. From aviation to animation, nursing to hospitality, New Zealand’s applied and vocational sector offers a wide range of specialist programmes, so you can find a programme that helps you achieve your goals. 

Courses offered by PTEs and Te Pūkenga teach skills that are sought after by employers both in New Zealand and overseas.  If you complete a qualification in an area that is considered skilled or is in demand in New Zealand, gaining a work or residence visa in the future may be easier. Check out the Green List at Immigration New Zealand for more information. 

Most of the courses offer work placements and industry projects as a part of the course, giving you a chance to make connections and learn from real-world challenges. Seneo Perry, a master's student studying hospitality management at Pacific International Hotel Management School (PIHMS) in New Plymouth, chose to study at PIHMS because of the connections and contacts she could gain through completing a vocational course. Seneo comes from a tourism background back in Botswana receiving an accolade for Best Youth in Tourism in 2023 for marketing Botswana as a safari tourist destination and for strategic partnerships with environmentally sustainable brands. She wanted to pursue a course that could facilitate her in coming up with great environmental sustainability initiatives that hotels can integrate in their operations as well as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). This is something her study at PIHMS is enabling her to pursue. 

Although Seneo found the transition to studying in New Zealand a culture shock compared to Botswana she quickly gained an appreciation for how multi-cultural New Zealand is.

Kevin Johnson, who is also a student at PIHMS, chose New Zealand for his study because the courses offered a wider perspective. Coming from a culinary background in his home city of Chennai in southern India, the master's programme Kevin is completing has allowed him to experience a range of hospitality disciplines. This has led to him finding a passion for marketing, something he had not considered as a career path when starting the course. 

Experience a unique New Zealand approach to education that is welcoming and inclusive, where teachers are connected to employers, and learning takes place in real-world environments. You can start building a list of vocational education courses that would help you achieve your dreams using our SwNZ search tool and SwNZ account. Sign up now! 

 *In December 2023, New Zealand’s new government announced that it intended to disestablish the national network of tertiary education organisations and return these to individual regional decision-making institutions.   
There is no specific time frame for this organisational change yet, but it may take 12-18 months from the start of 2024 for existing legislation to be amended or new legislation to be introduced.  
During this process, all students, including international students, can enrol with a Te Pūkenga business division in 2024 and 2025 in confidence that whatever replaces Te Pūkenga will honour this arrangement. Te Pūkenga is entirely committed to ensuring that any organisational change does not impact the delivery of its programmes and training for its learners and employers.  
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About the contributors
Melanie Mills
Global Digital and Technology Manager | Education New Zealand

Mel is the Global Digital and Technology Manager at Education New Zealand. When she's not sharing stories about what it's like to study in New Zealand, you will find her out exploring Auckland's newest restaurants and cafes.