Fees free for industry training

What is Fees Free?

In 2018 the Government introduced a scheme to encourage more New Zealanders into formal training, study or learning. Many formal qualifications are free for learners for one or two years, depending on the qualification. Certain eligibility criteria exist around the types of qualifications that are eligible for the Fees Free scheme.

All Government information on Fees Free can be found at www.feesfree.govt.nz

Fees Free is available from 1 January 2018. Eligible learners that start their industry training journeyin 2018 or 2019 are eligible for their fees to be paid for the first 24 months of their training programme (fees free support is capped at $12,000 per learner).

Who is eligible for Fees Free?

You can check whether you are eligible for Fees Free by using the eligibility tool at www.feesfree.govt.nz

To be eligible for fees-free industry training, a trainee must be legally entitled to reside and work in New Zealand.

The learner must also have either:

  1. been enrolled in a school in or after 2017, other than as an adult student, or
  2. not undertaken more than half a year of equivalent full-time tertiary education (0.5 EFTS or 60 credits) at level 3 or above on the NZQF, including tertiary education at an equivalent level undertaken in any country.

The following credits must not be included in measures of prior tertiary education to determine eligibility for fees-free:

  1. any tertiary education undertaken while enrolled in school prior to 1 January 2019 (except for tertiary education undertaken as an adult student), and
  2. any tertiary courses undertaken as part of the student’s or trainee’s school learning programme or secondary-tertiary programme on or after 1 January 2019, and
  3. any credits achieved as part of any industry training programme that consists of fewer than 120 credits that are reported after 1 January 2018.

The learner must also enrol in an eligible industry training programme.

What is Covered by FEES FREE?

Students heading into Industry Training are funded for the first two years of study. This covers;

  • Connexis qualification fee
  • Assessment fees
  • Provider fees
  • Resource cost

What’s NOT covered:  Costs such as travel, meals and accommodation to attend block courses.

What Connexis qualifications are eligible for Fees Free?

Eligible qualifications:

  • at NZQF level 3 or above, and
  • approved by New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), and
  • comprised of at least 120 credits (which includes all New Zealand Apprenticeships), and
  • not part of a school learning programme or secondary-tertiary programme.


Is an RCC candidate eligible?

Yes, RCC candidates are eligible as long as the eligibility criteria are met.

Can a trainee who withdrew from their program prior to 1 January 2018 be eligible for Fees Free if they re-sign up in 2018?

As long as the trainee has not achieved more than 60 accumulated credits* or achieved a similar level of achievement at a provider (University, Polytech etc) and the program they are signing into meets TEC threshold they MAY be eligible. They would need to go through the same process as everyone else applying.

* Credit accumulation may occur outside a specific program ie first aid course, Class 2, 4 or 5 Drivers License etc

Can a third party fill out the Statutory Declaration form on behalf of a potential trainee?

No, the trainee is responsible for filling out the form and getting it witnessed and signed by the appropriate authority (such as a JP) as per TEC conditions.

What happens if a trainee puts their study on hold or withdraws, does the timer on the two years fees free stop?

The Fees Free period starts for an eligible trainee and ends 24 months from that date. The timer does not ‘stop’ during this period.

If a trainee gets a ‘NO’ response to fees free eligibility can they appeal?

If a trainee receives a ‘no’ answer they can appeal. TEC have a dispute process in place but only the trainee can appeal the decision. They must fill in a form and have it signed by the appropriate authority (such as a JP) as per the TEC conditions.