Vocational pathways update 2014: successes, challenges, next steps

Vocational education and training Youth Schools Learning and teaching Employment New Zealand

Summary: Vocational Pathways support young people, along with their families, teachers, and other influences to be more informed about their learning choices – to avoid “dead-ends”, and understand the consequences of their decisions in terms of their future possibilities.

The VPs deliver three main benefits for learners:

  • a sense of enhanced relevance, coherence and purpose for learning
  • better preparation for further education and employment transitions
  • exposure to a wider range of occupation and career possibilities.

There are currently five Vocational Pathways covering: Primary Industries; Construction and Infrastructure; Manufacturing and Technology; Social and Community Services; Services Industries.

A sixth pathway, for Creative Industries was launched on 30 June 2014.|

The Ministry of Education has carried out a short targeted consultation with key stakeholders on the implementation of the Vocational Pathways after one year of operation.
The Vocational Pathways have become central to the Youth Guarantee initiatives: Fees-free programmes leading to National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) qualifications must align with the Vocational Pathways. Trades Academy programmes must deliver credits recommended in the Vocational Pathways. Regional Youth Guarantee networks are using the Vocational Pathways to support the development of programmes and education partnerships in the regions, to deliver coherent programmes and qualifications.

The Ministry has also analysed NZQA results data from 2012 and 2013 (pre- and post- release of the draft pathways) to identify if there has been an impact on student decision-making, and the coherence of NCEA qualifications, as a result of the Vocational Pathways. Results are very encouraging.  In 2013, around twice as many students (35,000) would have achieved a NCEA Level 2 qualification with at least one Vocational Pathway Award than in 2012 (16,000).  The number has approximately doubled for each of the five pathways.

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