Fees and financial help

Work-based learning is an efficient and affordable way to gain qualifications while earning an income.

Programme fees

A range of financial help options are available for work-based learners - click on the headings below for more information.

Assessment and other costs

Assessment and other costs

In some cases, there may be additional expenses, or non-monetary costs, to completing the programme.

Total costs will vary depending on how the qualification is delivered and assessed, and whether you need external workshops, resources or registrations. Another factor is whether your workplace has an assessor on staff or has to arrange an external assessor who will charge for their time.

Financial help

Are you interested in accessing financial support? Check out some of the options here. 


Here at Te Mahi Ako, we're on a mission to make education more accessible and have some exciting news to share with you. Te Mahi Ako recently took a big step forward through a new joint initiative with Generosity New Zealand, Aotearoa’s largest digital search facility for funding information.  

This new initiative will allow all affiliated workplaces, industries and learners unrestricted access to Generosity NZ’s network of funding and grant providers. Our goal is to link you with opportunities that can support your educational aspirations and projects.  

If you are affiliated with Te Mahi Ako, the first step for access will be reaching out to your regional learner advisor (RLA) for assistance. They will provide you with a code to access all the different funding opportunities. This exciting initiative is being funded until February 2024 so be sure to apply for as many grants as you like within this time!

For more information, click here to watch a brief video introducing Generosity NZ and what they are all about or, head to their website here.  

Fees Free is a government scheme targeted at first-time learners as part of their commitment to make training affordable.

If you are an eligible learner, your training and assessment will be covered by Fees Free for the first 24 months of their training. Learners can verify their eligibility by entering their National Student Number (NSN) into the eligibility checker tool at www.feesfree.govt.nz.

Fees Free is administered by the Tertiary Education Commission, and you can find all the details including eligibility criteria at the TEC website.

The Regional Apprenticeships Initiative is designed to support new apprentices based outside the main centres.

This fund will support up to 1,000 new apprentices and their employers in regional New Zealand - that is, outside of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

The fund provides up to $40,000 per apprentice, which includes a wage subsidy and help with business support and pastoral care, to create the right environment for a successful apprenticeship. The fund prioritises Māori, Pasifika and disabled apprentices, and those who lost their previous employment due to Covid-19.

A condition of the scheme is that the employer must pay their apprentice at least the relevant minimum wage or training wage.

Find out more at the Provincial Growth Fund website.

The Mana in Mahi programme is designed to help people who have had difficulty in the labour market to gain employment. We've provided a basic outline of the scheme below, but if you are interested, speak directly with Work and Income New Zealand to understand if you could be eligible. The Work and Income website has more information for learners and employers.

For learners: To take part in Mana in Mahi, you must be someone who has been disadvantaged in the labour market. You need to be working at least 30 hours a week with your new employer, and you must commit to pursuing a Te Mahi Ako work-based learning programme that matches your role.

Mana in Mahi will subsidise the wage paid to you by your employer, and provide regular support and visits to help you along. If you stick at it, you will also receive three $1,000 incentive payments, over the course of your first year in the job. 

For workplaces: Mana in Mahi may be open to those offering a full-time role (30 hours+) to anyone who has been disadvantaged in the job market. You must be paying at least the adult minimum wage, and you need to commit to supporting your new staff member to complete a Te Mahi Ako work-based learning programme.

Mana in Mahi will provide a wage subsidy of up to $16,000 in the trainee's first year. It will provide help with start-up tools and gear, pre-work training, and pastoral care along the way. Your learner will also receive three incentive payments over the year, to help motivate them to meet their work and training goals.

If you are an employer taking on a new staff member, you may be able to pay them the training wage if they are completing at least 60 credits a year in a Te Mahi Ako work-based learning programme.

The training wage is 80% of the adult minimum wage. It can only be paid to people who are aged 20 or over, and it cannot be paid to any employee who is responsible for supervising other staff.

If you think your business could be eligible to offer the training wage, your next step should be to speak directly with Employment New Zealand to understand your rights and responsibilities.

In order to be eligible, you and your employee must have their work-based learning commitment written into their employment contract. The training must be required for them to become qualified in their role.

Your staff member is only eligible for the training wage while they are completing 60 credits a year. If they finish their qualification, are no longer doing 60 credits in a year, or begin supervising others, you must pay them at least the adult minimum wage. You should reassess eligibility each year. You'll find more detailed information on the Employment NZ website.