Being a Te Mahi Ako learner

Being a work-based learner is a little bit different to other forms of tertiary education.

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Te Mahi Ako learning programmes are for people working in te ahumahi ā-rēhia: the active recreation, leisure and entertainment sectors.

You can work in the field you're passionate about and deliver awesome services to your community, all while gaining skills and education.

It's a great way to upskill, progress your career, and (in most cases) earn an income at the same time.

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Work-based learning means learning on the job, at your own pace, and picking up knowledge. You'll get there with support and feedback from your colleagues and managers. You will be doing your real work, repeating tasks, and progressing in skill.

Over time you will be assessed doing your tasks, so you can demonstrate you're meeting the required standards to complete your programme.

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When you sign up for a work-based learning programme, you won't be doing it on your own. Your learning will be a joint project between three parties - you, your workplace and Te Mahi Ako.

Your workplace will provide the training, encouragement, time and opportunities you need to complete your tasks. Your Te Mahi Ako team, including your assessor and learning advisor, will help you stay on track and tackle any problems along the way. You can find out more on our Learner Support page.

How to enrol

Ready to go? Just click the "Enrol" button in the top right-hand corner of this website, set up a new account in our Learner Portal if it is your first time, and then click the "Enrol here" button. Select your programme from the dropdown menu, and follow the prompts to complete the rest of the form.

Your enrolment form will be processed by your learner advisor, and then sent to your workplace manager to review and sign electronically. Once your manager has signed, the form automatically gets sent back to you, and your learner advisor, to review and sign. 

Before you sign up with us, you need to have a few key things in place in order to be eligible:

  • A paid role, self-employment or regular volunteer work
  • A workplace or organisation in your chosen sector
  • Opportunities to complete the type of work required for your programme
  • Support, guidance, resources and time provided by your workplace
  • You must be aged 16 years or older
  • You must have the right to work in New Zealand.


Once your online enrolment form is completed, it becomes your Learner Agreement. This is a three-way contract between you, your workplace and Te Mahi Ako. In it, all three parties will agree to:

  1. Actions each of you will take to support you completing your qualification
  2. Your programme details and the order of modules or unit standards that you will complete
  3. What information Te Mahi Ako will collect from you and why.

Your learner advisor will also arrange a Workplace Relationship Agreement with your workplace, if there isn’t one already in place. Going through this process allows us to make sure your workplace meets the eligibility criteria, and has the capacity, work content, and the right level of support, for your chosen qualification.

You can find copies of these agreements on our Forms page.

After your enrolment starts, you will receive learning and assessment materials for your programme within 10 working days. As soon as you get your resources you can get stuck into your programme! 

You'll also have access to a whole lot of support materials to make sure we can meet your needs and tackle any barriers while you're learning with us.

And if you've enrolled in an online programme, you will receive guidance on how to get the most of our systems and platforms:

  • Instruction on how to log in to your Learner Portal
  • Access to your online course material and progress-tracking tools.