The uptake of qualifications relating to Seafood has been declining over the past five years and the existing qualifications are not flexible enough to meet industry need.

The vocational education system has not been flexible enough to meet industry need. There has been a large decrease in the number of learners enrolled in vocational education relating to Seafood over the past five years and this is due to several interrelated factors. The industry needs more flexible delivery models that meet the needs of learners and employers. 

The Nelson Tasman Regional Skills Leadership Group has noted in its Regional Workforce Plan that training enough skilled workers to meet current and future industry demands will require education and training in aquaculture to take a more strategic focus, including collaboration, and development of resources. 

The effects of NZQA’s Targeted Review of Qualifications in the Seafood industry are still being felt. Engagement with key stakeholders in the industry and those involved in Seafood training in the vocational education and training sector revealed that the reasons for this decrease are complex. Changes to the vocational education system in Seafood have included the merger of the Seafood ITO, which resulted in a decrease in Seafood specific qualifications (many of which were classroom based and not suitable for industry), and a streamlining of Seafood qualifications which reduced the number of courses on offer from more than 60 to the current seven (see Seafood qualifications map). Additionally, there was formerly a Seafood-specific level 2 qualification. This has been incorporated into a broader Primary Industry Skills level 2 qualification, which has had a large student increase from 2015-18, but offers less flexibility in Seafood.