Two North Island polytechnics are cutting staff and courses after funding cuts.
The Tertiary Education Union says more training institutes are likely to follow suit.
It says the Government's contestable funding model has stripped money from many polytechnics and handed it to private education companies and one wananga.
The model puts a third of the $115 million level one and two budget up for grabs.
The union says Universal College of Learning in the central North Island is cutting about 30 fulltime equivalent positions and holding off enrolments into several courses, including a glass blowing programme in Wanganui after losing $2.6 million of funding.
In Hawke's Bay, the Eastern Institute of Technology is cutting the equivalent of about 13 fulltime positions after it lost more than $2.3 million in funding and says further job losses are likely in 2013.
Tertiary Education Union national president Sandra Grey says the contestable funding model is hurting polytechnics in the regions.
The polytechnics will learn on 22 November how much additional funding they will get from the Government.