Working at McDonald's will gain credits towards a university degree in a deal between the fast-food giant and Massey University.
The two organisations have signed an agreement that will enable McDonald's staff to take a shortcut to completion of a bachelor of business studies or diploma or certificate in business studies.
Restaurant managers will be able to have work experience cross-credited for up to four credits - just over 15 per cent of a bachelors degree. That would cut the time it would take to complete a degree by around two years if studying part-time.
McDonald's has its own in-house qualification, completed by staff at around the restaurant manager level.
While that diploma was recognised within the industry and by the Qualifications Authority, the arrangement with Massey means it will count towards a degree.
The head of Massey's College of Business, Professor Ted Zorn, said it was the first such agreement between the university and a business.
"We have gone in to McDonald's and looked at what they are doing, and created a blanket policy for staff who have completed their inhouse training. We assessed the content [of the inhouse training], and found there was a pretty good fit with some of our first-year papers."
McDonald's New Zealand managing director Patrick Wilson, who started his career in the kitchen of a McDonald's, said the arrangement would take their staff development to the next level.
A scholarship programme has also been introduced to help staff cover tuition fees.
One likely to take the offer is Ajit Mandlekar, restaurant manager at the Coliseum Drive McDonald's in Albany. His duties include recruiting, training, overseeing payroll, ordering, dealing with customers, profit and loss management and marketing.
"We have practical knowledge here, and it will be great to adapt those skills to a business qualification," said Mr Mandlekar.