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Career and Transition Support

Preparing for next steps

Education after secondary school isn't limited to universities and institutes of technology or polytechnics. There's a wide range of opportunities that includes tertiary study, vocational training, apprenticeships and on the job training.

What are schools required to do?

Education should equip our young people to be successful in meeting the many challenges of the future and to contribute to New Zealand’s economy. Good qualifications give students better opportunities for further education, employment, and a better quality of life.


Students must also have life skills and the right attitudes to move successfully into the world of learning and work beyond school. Schools should have systems to help students develop those skills and their own learning pathway to success. 

Schools are required to provide appropriate career education from Year 7 upwards. Schools also need to ensure that young people who are at risk of leaving school early have the necessary skills for work (NAG 1(f)).

Students will have career development opportunities in their school.  Young people should leave school with a developed awareness of self, an awareness of potential opportunities, and the ability to make decisions, plan and to take action for life beyond school.

Career education & guidance in schools

Most schools have a career adviser, and some schools have a career department, to provide career development programmes and guidance for students.

Careers advisers help students prepare for work or tertiary education with information about things like jobs, tertiary course requirements, and scholarships.  The career adviser, and career department, might provide opportunities to support students select school subjects, learn about career options, provide career-related information, programmes and opportunities, support students with tools and resources to find a career, assist with work ready skills, and liaise with other staff to provide work experience.

School staff who provide and support career education and guidance in schools (career adviser, Gateway Co-ordinator, STAR Co-ordinator, Trade Academy Co-ordinator, transition teachers) often belong to the Northland branch of Careers and Transition Educators Association (NorthCATE).  CATE is a professional national organisation who's focus is on the career education of youth and their transition from school into the wider world of employment, training and/or further education.

Career-related programmes available in schools

Education after secondary school isn't limited to universities and institutes of technology or polytechnics. There's a wide range of opportunities that includes tertiary study, vocational training, apprenticeships and on the job training.  Many schools provide opportunities for students in the senior school to explore career ideas.


Career programmes include:


Gateway funding enables secondary schools to give senior students access to structured workplace learning integrated with school-based learning. Students’ learning is assessed in the workplace and they can achieve credits on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) towards their National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA).

Gateway is designed to support school students’ transition into the workforce by offering them workplace learning while at secondary school. This should include a formal agreement (like an individualised learning plan) between the school, the student and the workplace.

The workplace learning should include:

  • set unit standards for the student to work towards and achieve

  • specific assessment methods.

Gateway programmes provide opportunities for Year 11 to Year 13 students.  Students need to go through interviews with the school (Gateway Co-Ordinator) and the employer.

First point of contact is school’s career adviser or Gateway Co-ordinator

STAR progamme

The Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR) delivers additional operational grant funding to all state and state-integrated schools with year 11–13+ students. STAR is designed to help schools provide students with relevant, coherent learning experiences, aligned to the Vocational Pathways. 

The objectives of STAR are to:


  • provide flexible funding for courses which will better respond to students’ needs, motivate them to remain in education, enable them to achieve to the best of their potential, and facilitate their smooth transition to further education, training, or employment


  • support students to explore career pathways and help them make informed decisions about their schooling and future study or work.

Career expos and events

Schools advertise these events on their websites and through newsletters or emails. Career events include:

  • career expos and career evenings or days, organised by the school and often involving employers, industry training providers, the defence forces, polytechnics and universities

  • parent–teacher evenings, and subject choice evenings, where parents can meet with teachers to discuss their child's progress subject choices

  • university open days and tertiary trips, where students are given the opportunity to visit universities and other training providers.

  • visits by tertiary training providers.

Trade and service academies

Trades academies are secondary-tertiary programmes that provide a broad range of learning opportunities for senior secondary students, to ensure they stay engaged in education for longer.

The programme is delivered through partnerships developed between schools, tertiary and industry organisations.

The programme is full time (25-30 hours per week) for students already enrolled at school and:

  • consists of both secondary and tertiary elements

  • includes appropriate work experience where this forms part of the tertiary or secondary part of the programme.


The programme must lead to a worthwhile qualification for the students enrolled in the trades academy. This is a minimum of NCEA level 2. Students must also be working toward a trades-related nationally-transferrable tertiary qualification in Level 1, 2 or 3 as part of the programme. It is expected that students will have the opportunity to gain a Vocational Pathways Award for NCEA Level 2.

First point of contact is school’s career adviser, or Gateway Co-ordinator, or Dean


Te Taitokerau Trades Academy provide a wide variety of practical courses including carpentry, automotive engineering, hospitality, environmental trades, agriculture/horticulture, art, electronics/electrical, and Māori performing arts & whakairo/carving.  Website

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