How New Zealand Qualifications Will Change

In my last post about the Targeted Review of Qualifications (TRoQ), I wrote about why change was needed for New Zealand qualifications.

In this post, I’d like to tell you about how those qualifications are changing.

How Are Qualifications Changing?

The Government has decided that the system as it was all very complex and very confusing.

Step 1

The first step they took was to consolidate the qualifications “warehouses” into one single system called the New Zealand Qualifications Framework. It no longer matters who owns the qualification; it is listed on the NZQF.

Step 2

The second step was to change what a qualification was. Prior to this review, the qualification and programme were the same things. The National School of Aesthetics had a qualification called the Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Applied Aesthetics, and that was what students studied, were assessed against, and were given if they passed all the sections of the qualification.

This is no longer to be this way. The qualification has been separated from the studying part. The qualification, the Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Applied Aesthetics, will tell employers, students, industry, and the wider community what someone holding the Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Applied Aesthetics should be able to do as a beauty therapist: in this case, perform things like manicure and pedicure, Swedish body massage, facials, waxing, and so on, to an industry-acceptable standard, and hold the relevant knowledge to perform these safely and correctly. The training that person undertook to gain the qualification was now called the programme.

In short: The programme and the qualification used to be one thing but now are two separate things. Think of the programme as all the studying, all the practice, all the hard work and learning you have to do to get the piece of paper called the qualification. That lovely piece of paper you get to hang on your wall!

Step 3

The third step is to eliminate the duplication by making providers and industry working together to create a New Zealand-wide “suite” of qualifications.

Under the new system, the National School of Aesthetics Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Applied Aesthetics, the Elite Diploma in Beauty Therapy, and all of those 65 qualifications – pieces of paper on the wall – will eventually cease to exist.

They will be replaced by a New Zealand Diploma in Beauty Therapy.

The New Zealand Diploma in Beauty Therapy, and all the other qualifications we will have in this new “suite” (sounds plush and posh, doesn’t it?), will be the benchmark for all registered providers in New Zealand. It will define what the average and basic skills a beauty therapist should be able to perform and the knowledge he or she should hold to get that piece of paper.

Industry like you, providers like us, and other people who know about our industry are all invited to work on this. This is the stage we are at currently.

One thing that providers and industry determined at our meeting in Wellington on 7 April 2013 was that what we essentially teach to qualify a person as a beauty therapist does not change a great deal from provider to provider. The quality might be different, a few bits and pieces may be different, and some of us may teach more modern or more antiquated methods or equipment here or there, but for the most part, we teach pretty similar things.

That’s a great thing. Why? It gives us a really solid foundation to build on.

For example: Will vacuum suction stay as a treatment a beauty therapist needs to know? Maybe. Maybe not. But, someone said, vacuum suction uses essentially the same techniques as microdermabrasion, so maybe it should stay. And this is the type of discussion, a really good, in-depth discussion we found ourselves having.

We really encourage you to be a part of the conversation, and to help our industry develop the qualifications we will have for the next few years or so. Once a period of time elapses, the qualification “suite” is reviewed again, although, if it is working, the review should not be so in-depth.

The New Zealand Qualifications Are Set-Up. Now What?

Providers then take their programmes (the teaching) and “align” it to the new qualification.

What this means is that the qualification will say what a beauty therapist should be expected to do as a result of holding that qualification.

As a provider, we then adapt or change our programme to make sure we meet those criteria.

NZQA have said that, if the system seems to work for the most part now, the changes we as providers will have to make will be minimal.

NZQA reviews our programme to ensure it meets the criteria of the New Zealand Diploma in Beauty Therapy, and, once approved, the National School of Aesthetics Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Applied Aesthetics eventually disappears as its own qualification.

In my next post, I’ll talk about The Dangers of This Process.

Scott Fack is the Director of Operations at the National School of Aesthetics. He remains one of the beauty therapy education industry’s leaders in compliance requirements and quality management systems. The information supplied in this blog entry is his point-of-view of the Targeted Review of Qualifications for beauty therapy.

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