Learner-Focused, Industry-Led, Government-Enabled

Vocational Excellence Rubrics

Criteria for the food and fibre sector to measure vocational excellence against.



The Vocational Excellence Framework comprises a set of rubrics developed and maintained to establish the consistent set of criteria by which the Food and Fibre sector can measure the level of vocational excellence achieved in the design and delivery of Vocational Education and Training (VET) services.


A rubric is typically an evaluation tool or set of guidelines used to promote the consistent application of learning expectations, learning objectives, or learning standards, or to measure their attainment against a consistent set of criteria.


Food and Fibre Centre of Vocational Excellence (FFCoVE) was formed to promote excellence in vocational education in New Zealand’s food and fibre sector. To do this, it needs to be able to define and communicate what excellence is, and how it contrasts with everything that is not excellent. The framework presented in this document designed to do this.

Using the Framework

The framework can be used in several ways including:

  • Guiding project design, including encouraging project developers to address systematic opportunities rather than creating standalone examples of innovation
  • Identifying existing examples of excellence to promote
  • Monitoring the state of vocational education in the Food and Fibre sector

Design Principles

In developing this framework, the aim was to:

  • Build from a research-base but also incorporate the practical experience and perspectives of people working within New Zealand’s VET system
  • Adapt international research to a local context including by providing a cultural overlay
  • Create a tool that make it easy to apply for the uses described above
  • Make the framework modular, making it easy to expand and adapt
  • Set a high bar for achieving excellence – most of the current vocational education system is assessed as being acceptable or good, but not excellent, using the framework

Development Process

The rubrics began as a set of measures developed for the FFCoVE by Skills Consulting Group (SCG) as part of a literature review which sought overseas examples of excellence in vocational education. SCG developed in initial attribute framework based on four As; Availability, Accessibility, Acceptability and Adaptability.

Ongoing Improvement

The framework is intended to be a living one and is therefore subject to a continuous improvement regime.

Ideas for Future Development

A four-step approach is proposed to maintain and grow the framework:

  • Address gaps – The framework was not developed to be complete. Many parts of the VET system are not covered, or well-covered, by the existing rubrics.
  • Include non-formal learning – While some of the framework is relevant to non-formal learning, it fits best with the formal VET system. The framework should be adapted and expanded to cover the non-formal training system.
  • Expand consultation – Each rubric was tested with a small number of stakeholders and changes made since may not have been reviewed with them. There is ample scope for improvement by seeking further input and ideas.
  • Incrementally improve – As and when new projects are commissioned, identify which rubrics apply and use the projects to test their currency. Amend as necessary to accommodate new elements and/or develop new rubrics as necessary.

Go to the Overview tab to download the entire suite of rubrics in MS Word format


Educators here refers to a broad and diverse definition of people who provide instruction or education. Examples of educators may include, but are not limited to, teachers, tutors, trainers, training advisors / brokers etc.

Employers and Industry Bodies

Go to the Overview tab to download the entire suite of rubrics in MS Word format

Face-to-face Learning

Face-to-face learning is used here as a concise way to describe a ‘default’ mode of provision – provided mainly on-campus, delivered face-to-face and typically aimed at learners near the start of their working lives. Much of the content of this rubric will also apply to other forms of provision described in the following rubrics.

Work-based Learning

Digital and Distance Learning

Blended Modes of Delivery


Under development


Go to the Overview tab to download the entire suite of rubrics in MS Word format

Ākonga Māori

Underserved Learners

Underserved learners includes all learners that currently experience inequitable outcomes including, but not exhaustively, Māori, Pacific, neurodiverse, physically disabled, learners with low literacy and numeracy; Examples of local and representative groups and organisations here include iwi, industry and employers.

Adult Learners and Career Changers

Go to the Overview tab to download the entire suite of rubrics in MS Word format


Pastoral Care

Skills Recognition and Credentialisation

Funding Models

Go to the Overview tab to download the entire suite of rubrics in MS Word format

Mentoring Programme


Go to the Overview tab to download the entire suite of rubrics in MS Word format


This rubric illustrates the stakeholder agreed vision of pathway excellence. Note that it focuses on the short-term outcomes that learners should experience.

For example, what they should access, understand, be capable of or experience, prior to or during a transition.

The rubric is high-level and should apply as needed to any organisation (primary, secondary, or tertiary institution, industry entity etc.) which has the ability to influence the options a learner has available to progress in their career-related learning.

The organisation using this rubric needs to assess where they sit, and from there explore what actions they can take to achieve these outcomes for learners.

*In all cases, ‘learners’ is inclusive of Māori and other ethnicities, disabled people, different genders, age groups, and neurodiverse people. This means the pathway must always be culturally and socially appropriate.