Youth Guarantee

Youth Guarantee

Last updated 9 February 2017
Last updated 02/09/2017

Youth Guarantee initiatives are about improving the transition from school to work, by providing a wider range of learning opportunities, making better use of the education network, and creating clear pathways from school to work and study.

We are in the process of updating these fund pages for 2017.

For the 2017 conditions for the Youth Guarantee Fund, refer to:

Generic conditions that relate to all on-Plan funds

Specific conditions that relate to this fund only

Who applies:  ITPs, PTEs, schools, wānanga

Agreed through: Investment Plan (on Plan)

TEC’s Youth Guarantee funding is part of a wider range of government-funded foundation learning initiatives, which are also collectively known as Youth Guarantee – including Vocational Pathways, Secondary-Tertiary Programmes (and Trades Academies).

These initiatives create a variety of opportunities, alongside secondary school, for students to achieve a minimum of National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) level two or equivalent which will enable progression into higher levels of study, training or employment. More information on the wider Youth Guarantee programmes is available from the Ministry of Education or at


The purpose of Youth Guarantee is to provide fees-free tertiary places for eligible domestic students aged 16 to 19 years who are studying towards NCEA levels 1 or 2 or another qualification at levels 1, 2, or 3 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF).

Places funded through Youth Guarantee seek to:

  • improve transitions between school, tertiary education, and work
  • increase overall achievement for Māori, Pasifika, and 'at risk' students with special education needs
  • reduce the overall number of young people who are not in employment, education, or training (NEETs).

For students funded through Youth Guarantee, completion of foundation education provides an essential pathway to further education. Tertiary education organisations (TEOs) are expected to support students to build on their achievement and progress to higher levels of education.

Eligible students can access up to two equivalent full-time students (EFTS) of Youth Guarantee funded provision. Each student may access up to 1 equivalent full-time student (EFTS) worth of learning per calendar year. 

Youth Guarantee funding contributes to the Government’s Better Public Services target of increased proportions of young people achieving NCEA level 2 or an equivalent qualification.


The Youth Guarantee funding mechanism is issued by the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, and Employment. The funding mechanism outlines the general form and essential components of the fund. It provides the mandate for TEC to allocate the funding and details how we administer the fund. Allocating this fund helps support the achievement of government policy and the Tertiary Education Strategy.

A TEO that receives Youth Guarantee funding is required to:

  • comply with the requirements of the Education Act 1989 
  • comply with the funding conditions specified in the TEO's Investment Plan funding approval letter.

Changes for 2016

A number of changes have been made to the Youth Guarantee scheme from January 2016, as follows:

Limit on students repeating levels 1 and 2

The limit on the proportion of Youth Guarantee students who can enrol in a qualification at level 1 or 2 on the NZQF that already have a qualification at level 1 or 2 has decreased from 20 percent in 2015 to 10 percent in 2016. This means that TEOs must ensure that any students considered to be a new enrolment, who already hold a qualification at level 1 or 2, do not make up more than 10 percent of enrolments at that level. See Condition YG014.  

Cap on level 3 provision

Individual TEO level 3 caps will be agreed through Investment Plans. TEOs should give priority for level 3 provision to those students with low or no prior achievement and those who have completed a level 1 or 2 qualification through a Youth Guarantee programme. See Condition YG017.

From 2016, TEOs must not enrol a student into a Youth Guarantee programme if the student has already achieved a qualification at level 3 or above on the NZQF. See Condition YG026.

Funding available for additional delivery

From 2016, we will fund Youth Guarantee delivery for additional enrolments above the amount the TEO has been approved to deliver. This will  provide TEOs with flexibility to meet additional student demand. For more information see the 'funding and payments' section and Conditions YG028 and YG029. 


For further information on TEC-funded foundation learning programmes go to:

For further information on Youth Guarantee go to:

Other resources include:

Additional resources