NZ qualifications in Youth Work for consultation

– closes on Wednesday 9 November 2022.

Toitū te Waiora has completed the initial review of the NZ qualifications in Youth Work. You are invited to provide feedback on the proposed changes to ensure the qualifications remain useful, relevant and valuable to current and future ākonga, employers, programme providers and other community partners.


This project includes the review of:

and the proposed development of:

You can provide feedback by completing the Youth Work Qualifications October Survey.

Refer to the individual Youth Work draft qualifications or a Landscape of the Proposed Youth Work qualifications.

Proposed main changes

  • Graduate Profile Outcomes (GPOs) across the suite of qualifications have been strengthened to reflect latest research regarding the diverse and complex nature of youth work practice, including the integration of Mana Taiohi.
  • Inclusion of a minimum number of practicum/practical hours of youth work.
  • Level 3: A title change from NZ Certificate in Youth Work to NZ Certificate in Youth Leadership to better reflect the focus of work the youth worker will be engaged in.
  • Level 4:
    • Merging of graduate profile outcomes (GPOs) 1 and 2 as evidence for each GPO can be gathered in the same assessment(s).
    • Addition of a new GPO to acknowledge the high social need for mental health and well-being awareness, and the digital spaces where young people connect.
  • Level 5: Proposed new qualification to provide more opportunities for ākonga to:
    • Enter and exit the youth work professional pathway.
    • Build competence in achievable incremental steps and support entry into the Diploma of Youth Work (Level 6).

* A Level 5 qualification would be the appropriate level for outside professionals who work with rangatahi to develop and strengthen their practice e.g. teachers, counsellors, police youth aid.

  • Level 6: Lifting of GPOs to better reflect NZ Qualifications Framework level 6 descriptors.


This review was triggered by the scheduled December 2022 review of the Level 6 Diploma, which was created in March 2018. For alignment, consistency and progression, Levels 3 and 4 in Youth Work were included. These qualifications were last reviewed in 2018.

A panel of ten, comprising people of different levels of Youth Work roles was established to review the qualifications. They represented across the following scopes: Iwi, Pacific, faith-based, government, rainbow, academia/university, Youth Work peak body and professional body, training providers.

Prior to the review, sector consultation was conducted in April and June of this year to gain feedback from a wide range of youth workers, youth organisations, community related organisations, peak bodies, programme providers and relevant government agencies.

Early 2022, Toitū te Waiora received a request from members of the sector to develop a level 5 certificate in Youth Work. Following due legislative review processes, TTW engaged in sector feedback via the June survey; had robust discussion with the review panel and sought advice from a targeted sector group representing youth work employers, youth workers, peak body and the professional body.

A decision to draft a level 5 certificate proposal was based on providing choice and opportunities for ākonga as the learners/workforce would be the ones that would benefit most from this option.

This proposed level 5 certificate is now up for consultation before it is submitted to NZQA for quality assurance and approval.