Transitioning to the New Zealand Diplomas in Aviation

The two new New Zealand Diplomas in Aviation (Aeroplane and Helicopter) have now been approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). The Diploma at Level 5 offers strands in agricultural and general aviation. The Diploma at Level 6 offers strands in airline preparation and flight instruction.

The below information provides details for flight training schools transitioning to the new Diplomas for the 2012 academic year.

Section 1: Transition to New Zealand Diplomas


All new domestic students enrolling to train as pilots from 1 January 2012 through a Government funded provider must be enrolled into one of the New Zealand Diplomas, or an approved degree level qualification such as the Massey University Bachelor of Aviation.

Current students (enrolled before 1 January 2012) are advised to continue training towards the local provider qualification in which they are enrolled. Students considering whether to transition to the new diplomas from 1 Jan 2012 would need to discuss the suitability of this with their current provider, bearing in mind they would then be funded under the new TEC funding regime.

Education providers

There are two major steps education providers need to take in order to be able to deliver the new diplomas:

  • TEC Request for Proposals – Allocation of Pilot Training EFTS
    Organisations wishing to apply for Student Achievement Component (SAC) funding to deliver pilot training in 2012 are required to submit proposals to TEC by 22 August 2011. See TEC's website for more information about this process.

    TEC will make decisions regarding funding allocation at the end of September, with notification to providers likely in late September or early October.

    Organisations can submit proposals to TEC before their programmes and Consent to Assess applications have been approved by NZQA. Funding will be notified subject to NZQA quality assurance approval and consent.

    Enquiries regarding funding for pilot training should be directed to

  • Consent to Assess and Programme Approvals
    Organisations wishing to offer the new Diplomas need to submit programmes for approval and applications for Consent to Assess against unit standards to the NZQA as soon as possible. Please click here to read more about the Consent to Assess and programme approval process, and view a process flow-chart.

    A priority processing system has been put in place to ensure that all applications received by 31 October are analysed and responded to within 20 working days. Providers that submit their Consent to Assess application and their programme for approval at the same time will benefit from faster processing and approval times.

    Where an organisation subcontracts flying schools to deliver training, the contracting organisation must apply for programme approval and Consent to Assess. Their subcontractors are not currently required to hold these approvals, provided the organisation receiving TEC funding has an approved programme and consent to assess.

    Enquiries regarding programme approvals and Consent to Assess should be directed to

Section 2: Revising and developing Programmes and obtaining consent to assess

Education providers need to ensure their programmes meet the requirements of the new diplomas. Options for providers include:

  • Mapping their existing programmes to show how they meet the new qualification outcome statement and incorporate the requirements of the specification. This will include a matrix outlining the alignment of their programme delivery, Aviation Services Ltd (ASL) exams, and the applicable unit standards. In the short term this is expected to be the quickest option.
  • Collaborating on the development of a new agreed programme. NZQA is encouraging a collaborative approach to programme design to reduce duplicated effort and costs for individual providers, optimising use of resources and streamlining programme approval processes.

    ATTTO is keen to work with providers to develop a national programme design with supporting resources, which will help save duplicated effort and costs for individual providers.

    This work would be led by ATTTO’s GM Workforce Development, who has extensive experience in the development and design of training in both ITO and provider settings, in conjunction with an industry steering group. Work would be completed before the end of October 2011, enabling providers to gain programme approvals ready for the 2012 academic year. Interested providers should contact Debbie Martindale at ATTTO or email

    The benefit of a single programme is that individual providers would only need to seek consent to assess and advise NZQA of their intent to deliver the new diplomas in order to transfer their accreditation.

Section 3: Status of existing local qualifications

At the point an education provider gains NZQA approval for new programmes to deliver the New Zealand Diplomas in Aviation, NZQA will change the status of their existing local sub-degree qualifications to ‘expiring’. This means no new students can be enrolled into programmes leading to their local qualification. 

The status of the qualification will be changed to ‘discontinued’ on completion of the last programme of this qualification. If any students have not yet completed training at this stage, their education provider will make transition arrangements with each of them.

Section 4: Moderation

Internal moderation

The flight training schools approved to deliver programmes leading to the new diplomas will have obligations to students and NZQA to ensure consistent delivery of training. These arrangements must be detailed in the training school’s Quality Management System (QMS) and/or company exposition (for those holding Part 141 certification).

In addition to the education organisations assessment and moderation policy specified in the QMS, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) requires the use of ASL as the independent examining body for both theory exams and practical flight tests. ASL has comprehensive systems in place to monitor assessment outcomes and make any changes to ensure consistency

External moderation

ATTTO, as the qualification developer for the qualifications and standard setting body for the unit standards that cover flight training, also has obligations to NZQA to ensure consistency of training delivery for the new diplomas.

The unit standards supporting programme delivery of the diplomas have been developed to align to the appropriate CAA syllabus, as covered by the ASL exams. They will allow for the consistent reporting of outcomes from training.

ATTTO has tailored its external moderation system to fit the unique needs of the flight training sector, taking into consideration confidence in the structured nature of flight training and the role of ASL in carrying out assessments for both theory and flight tests.

This information will also form the basis for the recording of student achievement and reporting of unit standard credits to NZQA (as a part of providers’ obligations linked to holding consent to assess for the qualifications and the supporting unit standards).
This information will also contribute to meeting ATTTO’s requirements to track student outcomes. Each year a sample of providers (50 per cent in the first year) will be asked to provide a report on unit standards completed and credits reported, which will provide an overview of performance for external moderation purposes. In subsequent years, the sample size will be determined based on whether first year results prove satisfactory.

Enquiries regarding moderation requirements should be directed to

Section 5: Standardised pre-screening assessment

The TEC has stipulated that providers must ensure students meet robust industry-agreed selection procedures in order to attain funding approval. ATTTO has work underway with industry representatives to implement the agreed ADAPT© pre-screening assessment tool. This will be recognised by TEC as the industry-wide pre-screening standard.

This tool will be available through the website and will be completed by applicants at their own cost (around $80). Developed by UK-based company Symbiotics, this tool is recognised internationally as a world-class tool for successfully screening suitable candidates for aircrew roles.

Individual candidates’ reports will be provided to flight training schools on application for enrolment. It will provide flight training schools with a detailed report indicating suitability of candidates for careers as pilots, assisting with initial pre-screening of applicants. Information will be provided to flight training schools to help them interpret the data provided in the Symbiotics reports.

The tool will be launched in early September. Click here for more information about the pre-screening tool.

Candidates that successfully complete the pre-screening tool will be provided with a list of flight training schools that they can choose to have their report sent to. All flight training schools are encouraged to email ATTTO about registering as a qualifications provider on, so that they are included in this list of training schools made available to candidates.

Enquiries regarding registration on and the Symbiotics pre-screening tool should be directed to

Section 6: International Students

From 1 January 2012, providers accepting international students who only wish to obtain a Commercial Pilots License (CPL) will need to have an NZQA approved training scheme and related accreditation (or consent to assess).

Please contact NZQA on for more information regarding the process for international students.

   Summary of Next Steps for Training Schools:  
By 22 Aug 2011 Submit proposals to deliver pilot training to TEC by 22 August 2011.
By 31 Oct 2011 Submit programmes to deliver the New Zealand Diplomas to NZQA for approval, along with Consent to Assess against the unit standards.
By 31 Oct 2011 Submit Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) credit reports and programme matrices to ATTTO (as part of the Consent to Assess process).
  NZQA will analyse and respond to programme and Consent to Assess applications within 20 workings days, for all applications submitted before 31 October.
Email ATTTO ( to register as a qualifications provider on, so that your organisation name is provided to potential trainees completing the ADAPT© pre-screening tool.
From 1 Jan 2012 All new students enrolling in flight training programmes from 1 January 2012 enrolled in one of the New Zealand Diplomas in Aviation (Aeroplane and Helicopter), or a Massey University Bachelor of Aviation programme
2012 onwards Existing local qualifications will be expired when all current students complete