Tertiary education & training

In New Zealand tertiary education covers all education after secondary school, so it includes both higher education and vocational training.

Higher education

Education at a tertiary level is widely available in New Zealand, with providers in each of the main centres and many satellite campuses available in smaller areas. Almost 15% of adults were taking part in some kind of study at the time of the last census according to figures released by the Statistics Department in 2015. The student population is quite diverse in age. Education is a lifelong habit for many New Zealanders and retraining later in life or just studying for personal interest is common. In fact, nearly four in five New Zealanders now have formal qualifications.

Students studying

Distance learning

Online and flexible learning options can increase the range of courses available

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Check our Study in NZ section for more information about the details of where and what to study, domestic and international fees, the quality and international recognition of our qualifications and what daily life is like as a student in New Zealand.

The tertiary institutions available in your area are also listed on the regional Education pages.

Study in NZ


New Zealand offers lots of options to train for trades and other occupations. Often vocational training runs alongside a job, where students train while they are working, perhaps as part of an apprenticeship. Vocational training is also available at many secondary schools, alongside core academic subjects.

Training qualifications are developed and managed by industry groups called Industry Training Organisations (ITOs). There are over 30 of them in New Zealand, covering a large range of industries including service, manufacturing, primary industries (such as agriculture), and trades.

The Careers NZ website has an excellent summary of the workplace training and apprenticeship opportunities available in New Zealand.

Their website can also suggest which ITO you should contact if you’re looking at doing workplace training or getting a New Zealand Apprenticeship.

Workplace training and apprenticeships | Careers New Zealand

Workplace and industry training contacts | Careers New Zealand

Study in New Zealand

New Zealand Apprenticeships

In New Zealand, all apprentice-type training comes under the umbrella of a programme called New Zealand Apprenticeships. It approves all apprenticeships and helps maintain standards. The website of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) website has more information on the programme.

The TEC also has a register of apprenticeships you can use to find out what apprenticeships are available and which ITO you should contact.

New Zealand Apprenticeships | TEC

Adult and Community Education

Outside formal education courses, New Zealand offers a wide range of more informal opportunities for education. This is often known as ACE - adult and community education.

ACE courses can help you with anything from improving your English or ability with numbers to developing new skills like computing or understanding how New Zealand civil society works. Many Universities, Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics offer ACE courses. Many are also taken out into the community and delivered in church halls, local schools, even people’s homes.

See our regional education pages for information about the ACE opportunities where you live.


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Page last updated: 30/08/2016

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