Getting at-risk young people into a career - Priority 2

Te tautoko taiohi tūpono whara kia whai mahi

Last updated 1 November 2016
Last updated 1 November 2016

This page sets out how we are supporting Priority 2 of the Tertiary Education Strategy (TES) – Getting at-risk young people into a career. This priority recognises the importance of effective transitions for all young people from school to tertiary education to employment.

It is about ensuring young people have the right access and incentives to gain relevant qualifications and core personal skills that will support them into sustainable employment.

The priority aims:

  • to reduce the number of young people not gaining the qualifications or work experience they need for a sustainable career
  • to help lift the career aspirations of young people working in low-wage, low-skilled jobs or those with particular barriers to participation, such as young people with disabilities.

How we support Priority 2

Our Framework for Youth and Transitions proposes a selective and focused approach to achieve Priority 2 and the Government’s educational achievement targets for the public sector.

Youth and transition framework (Word, 451 Kb)

We have a three main funding programmes that support young people to transition to tertiary education –Youth Guarantee , Trades Academies and Gateway .

This year we also introduced two pilots that are designed to support learner pathways and improve outcomes for learners.

These are:

  • the DualPathways secondary-tertiary pilot which will fund up to 1200 student places in 2017 
  • the Student Achievement Component (SAC) level 3 and 4 competitive pilot which will allocate up to $35 million of SAC funding at levels 3 and 4 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) .

These funds and pilots are detailed below:

DualPathways secondary-tertiary pilot

The Dual Pathways Pilot is a partnership between schools, tertiary institutions and employers/industry organisations. DualPathways students will be enrolled part-time in secondary school and part-time in either tertiary education or industry training.

The aim of the DualPathways pilot is to support students to gain NCEA level 2 and 3, or equivalent, and help them move into work and/or higher-level education. To achieve this, the pilot:

  • targets students who would benefit from vocationally-focussed tertiary education opportunities, and who are not planning to enter university to continue their education
  • provides fees-free Level 2 and 3 provision (NCEA level 2 and 3, or equivalent)
  • offers pastoral care/coordination payments and transport payments (paid to the tertiary education provider)
  • requires tertiary education providers to form partnerships and collaborate with secondary schools
  • supports tertiary education providers and schools to collaborate with employers and industry
  • takes into account identified regional and/or national skill needs
  • introduces a “success” payment of $4,000, to be shared 50/50 between the tertiary education provider and the school (specific conditions apply, see Success payment)
  • enables an industry training organisations to participate through partnership with a tertiary education organisation (TEO) .

Read more about the DualPathways-Pilot

SAC 3 and 4 competitive pilot

This pilot builds on the success of the previous competitive processes for SAC-funded provision at levels 1 and 2 on the NZQF.  The competitive process will enable us to direct investment towards higher quality delivery that focuses on the skills required by employers in the primary sector and provide strong pathways for learners into skilled employment or further study at a higher level.

The funding aims to:

  • direct investment towards higher quality delivery of provision in these areas
  • increase responsiveness to industry needs in the primary sector
  • improve outcomes for learners (better stair-casing and clearer pathways into higher levels or into employment)
  • provide greater certainty that they reflect the costs of delivery at levels 3 and 4.

Read more about the SAC Level 3 and 4 competitive pilot

Youth Guarantee

Our Youth Guarantee fund is part of a wider range of government-funded foundation learning initiatives that are also collectively known as Youth Guarantee – including Vocational Pathways, Secondary-Tertiary Programmes (and Trades Academies). Youth Guarantee is intended to increase the educational achievement of 16 and 17 year olds by making the education system more responsive to their needs.

Youth Guarantee funding

These initiatives create a variety of opportunities, alongside secondary school, for students to achieve a minimum of 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 from the Youth Guarantee website.

Youth Guarantee website

Ministry of Education

Trades Academies

Trades Academies are partnerships between schools, TEOs and employers. They form part of the Youth Guarantee initiative and are called a secondary-tertiary programme (STP). STPs are designed to transition students from school to tertiary education, including vocational education.

Trades Academies deliver trades and technology programmes for senior secondary school students (years 11–13), and combine secondary and tertiary education with relevant work experience. Students aim to achieve NCEA level 2 (or level 3), and work towards a trades-related tertiary qualification on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) at level 1, 2, or 3.

Trades Academies funding


Gateway aims to enable schools to provide senior students (year 11 and above) with opportunities to access structured workplace learning that has:

  • a formalised learning arrangement set in the workplace
  • specified knowledge and skills that a student will attain
  • specified assessment methods (workplace learning).

We provide Gateway funding to meet the costs that a state secondary school or state integrated secondary school incurs in arranging and managing workplace learning, including assessment. A school can either directly manage the delivery of Gateway, or engage a broker to provide all or part of the programme on its behalf.

Gateway handbook (PDF, 792 Kb)

Gateway funding