Unit Standards and the NZQF
A brief overview of unit standards and the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.
The New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF)
The New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) contains a comprehensive list of all quality assured qualifications in New Zealand. Unit standards, national certificates and national diplomas are registered on the NZQF.
The NZQF has ten levels of qualification. Within any one level, qualifications can cover a wide mix of subjects, and take different amounts of time to complete. Each level is based on the complexity of learning, with level 1 the least complex and level 10 the most.
New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA)
NZQA ensures that New Zealand qualifications are valued as credible and robust both nationally and internationally.
Certificates and Diplomas designed by Careerforce are currently made up of unit standards. Each unit standard registered on the NZQF describes what a learner needs to know or what they must be able to achieve.
Each unit standard contains:
Learning Outcomes (formerly called Elements).
Collectively the learning outcomes form the title and purpose of the unit standard.
Evidence Requirements (formerly called Performance Criteria)
Evidence Requirements are statements against which the standards of performance of an element are assessed.
Range statements provide qualitative and quantitative information and set parameters of the Evidence Requirements, the Learning Outcome or the unit standard itself. There are different types of range statements which must be interpreted correctly.
Qualifications based on unit standards
- Certificates must comprise at least 40 credits and can be at level 1 through level 7; the majority are registered at levels 1 to 4.
- Diplomas must comprise at least 120 credits and can be at level 5 through level 7; the majority are registered at levels 5 and 6 and usually take one or two years full-time study to complete.
- Qualifications based on unit standards will cover the same outcomes throughout New Zealand. They identify the specific skills and/or knowledge that successful candidates need to achieve in order to gain the qualification, which enables employers to make informed decisions on the relevance of the qualifications of their workforce.
- People can study for unit standard qualifications while on the job, or through Polytechnics, Private Training Establishments, Government Training Establishments, or Wananga.
Industry Training Organisations (ITOs)
ITOs develop unit standards and qualifications for specific industries and professions. The main roles of an ITO are:
- setting national skill standards for (and in consultation with) their industry
- providing information and advice to trainees and their employers
- arranging for the delivery of on and off-job training (including developing training packages for employers)
- arranging for the assessment of trainees
- arranging the monitoring of quality training
ITOs do not deliver workplace learning and training themselves - they work with employers and learners to develop arrangements for education and training that fit their needs.
Learning can take place on-the-job in the workplace, or off-the-job at a tertiary education provider, such as a Polytechnic/Institute of Technology, Private Training Establishment (PTE), Government Training Establishment (GTE) or Wananga.