Update on Seafood qualifications development project

Three new Level 2 micro-credentials have been developed and approved by NZQA as part of an ongoing review to ensure seafood education products meet industry needs.

Since April 2023, Muka Tangata has been working with industry representatives, iwi Māori and vocational education providers to review and develop qualifications, standards and micro-credentials.

CE Jeremy Baker says the first new NZQA-approved micro-credentials and proposed new certificates reflect feedback from and engagement with industry partners.

“We’ve consulted widely with industry to understand the challenges of the current structure and are working together to deliver the more flexible and versatile offerings that will meet learner and providers’ needs.”

Seafood New Zealand GM Seafood Standards and Market Access Cathy Webb says one of the successes of the reform of vocational education has been the establishment of Workforce Development Councils.

“The seafood sector has been one of the first to have its qualifications reviewed and Muka Tangata has led the process with new thinking. And, by working together with industry and providers to create a set of qualifications that recognise the core transferrable and sector specific skills, industry will have the flexibility they need to implement training and develop the required skills in a way that suits their business.

“The new micro-credential and skill standard packages being developed will also allow staff to take on smaller pieces of learning which will build up so they can achieve the qualification if desired.”

Aquaculture New Zealand’s Environment and Sustainability Coordinator Caroline Gilbertson says Muka Tangata’s transparency and eagerness to engage with all stakeholders is positive and productive.

“I believe that the training structure being developed marks a positive change and meets the requests that industry have been making for a number of years through the development of micro-credentials.

“This new structure will facilitate greater uptake of in-work training by making it more accessible and achievable for those in full time employment. It also allows greater uptake from smaller businesses who may be more limited by workforce, seasonal, or financial challenges.”

Mr Baker says Muka Tangata has also extended the review date for the existing 280 plus seafood-related unit standards so they remain available for assessment and can be provided against the current qualifications while work is underway on new qualifications and related products.

Work has now started on the development of further micro-credentials and new skill standards to support the newly proposed qualifications.

“Feedback from our wider consultation group told us that the Level 5 micro-credentials and their associated skill standards were a priority so learners can have something to move on to from the existing qualifications.

“So, we’ve now confirmed subject matter experts to start developing skill standards and micro-credentials for Level 5 and the core Level 3 and 4 subjects with our analysts.”

Mr Baker says any interested parties are still welcome to provide input into the qualifications review process.

“If you are interested in knowing more about the seafood qualification review and how you can contribute, it’s not too late to get on board.”

If you have any questions, or would like to be involved in the Seafood qualification project, please email Stephen.Ede@mukatangata.nz.