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June 02, 2016 at 04:30 pm

A new national report from the Education Review Office (ERO), and a new survey by the New Zealand Council of Educational Research (NZCER) show that Vocational Pathways are providing relevant options at high school, and clearer pathways from secondary school into work, says the Industry Training Federation.

The Vocational Pathways were developed through a partnership between the Industry Training Federation and the Ministry of Education.  The Vocational Pathways use colour coding to show how subject choices and NCEA credits relate to further study and career possibilities across six major sectors of the workforce.  

"The key to educational success for many young people is seeing the relevance between their learning and what happens out there in the world of work." ITF Chief Executive Josh Williams says. 

"It's great to hear that many schools are picking up the Pathways and, in the best cases, creating authentic and relevant learning that will set students up for successful working futures."

The ERO report showcases three secondary schools that have redesigned their curriculum to ensure students are linking their learning at school to future employment possibilities. Forest View High School, Flaxmere College and Hauraki Plains College have partnered with other schools, tertiary providers and employers to provide wider study and work options, and greater continuity of learning.

However, the ERO report also says the programme’s full potential is not being realised, with some schools less enthusiastic.  In particular, when Vocational Pathways are seen as only a matter for careers advisors, or as options for poorly performing students.  

“We have to dismantle the idea that 'vocational' is the opposite of 'academic'." Mr Williams says.  “Every learner is on a journey to the workforce, whether their next stop is university or somewhere else.  There are great careers out there for people with degrees, and for people without them, and we need all our young people to see how their choices at school relate to future study and work possibilities." 

Information in NZCER's most recent survey of secondary schools is also heartening, in its finding that 66% of principals and 52% of teachers "agree" or "strongly agree" that the Vocational Pathways are useful, with only 10% of principals and 9% of teachers considering them not useful.  However, support for the Vocational Pathways is higher in lower decile schools. 

"The real point of the Vocational Pathways is to get students, parents, schools, tertiary providers, and employers on the same page, so young people make good educational choices and get into rewarding careers.

"We congratulate those schools that are using the Vocational Pathways and working with others to help more kids stay engaged, and get a sense of purpose and direction for their learning and future opportunities."

"We all want what's best for our kids, and this is about equipping our young people for the future, since their individual successes will add up to our collective prosperity."  Mr Williams says.

See more on Vocational Pathways

See the ERO Report