Building a clear path to the future


The end of the school year is looming and, in the current environment, builders are feeling much more confident about the future.

The construction industry needs more school leavers with appropriate skills to begin apprenticeships at the end of this school year. Now is the perfect time to make the commitment of taking on apprentices in order to meet demand and curb an imminent shortage of skilled workers.

With so many choices available, it can be a challenge for the kids of today to figure out where to go and what to do next when they leave school, let alone planning their journey along the way.

A new Government initiative called Vocational Pathways is helping high school students decide what to do after they leave school.

The BCITO explains how Vocational Pathways work and discusses how employers can benefit from this initiative when taking new apprentices on board directly from school.

Developed by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with industry and education, Vocational Pathways was launched in April 2013 as part of the Government’s Youth Guarantee initiative, to better align and prepare students for further study, training or work.

What are Vocational Pathways all about?

Approximately 70% of school leavers do not enter degree-level study. There are many learners looking at alternative options and careers via a different pathway.

Aimed at all learners, Vocational Pathways provides new ways to structure and achieve NCEA Level 2, and enables learners to see how their learning is relevant for a wide range of jobs and study options in five broad sectors of industry.

Why was Vocational Pathways developed?

As part of its Youth Guarantee programme, the Government has set a target that 85% of 18 year olds will have NCEA Level 2 or equivalent in 2017. Growing the number of young people coming through the education system with qualifications will make a positive contribution to growing the future labour market.

This means NCEA Level 2 is now regarded as the minimum qualification required to be ready to enter and progress to further study, training or work.

Vocational Pathways makes learning relevant to the individual and to the industry they wish to pursue a career in.

How do Vocational Pathways work for learners?

With more than 600 credits at Level 2 now structured and colour-coded within the Vocational Pathways, learners can plan their journey from school to employment knowing what skills, attributes and knowledge they need in order to enter their particular industry of choice.

Learners use an online Profile Builder to plan a Vocational Pathway into a particular industry.

Achieving industry-related credits means learners are fully informed of what they need to achieve at school to progress to the type of work they are interested in.

How can employers use Vocational Pathways?

Once a learner is studying at NZQA Level 2, they will have access to a Vocational Pathways Profile.

This is a visual colour-coded graph that shows the learner’s achievement against each Pathway. Learners can see this information whenever they log in to their NZQA record. For example, a profile can show the student has achieved a Vocational Pathway in the construction and infrastructure (orange) industries, achieved the required sector-related standards, and has an understanding of the industry.

This is a much easier way for employers to see a snapshot of industry-related achievements rather than attempting to decipher a long list of unit standards on a Record of Achievement.

The next time you’re talking to a school leaver about an opportunity in your industry, ask to view their Vocational Profile. You can see what pathways they are interested in, and quickly assess their interest and achievement as it relates to your business.

If the learner has planned to enter the construction and infrastructure industries, their Pathways Profile will show what knowledge and skills they have achieved so far that are relevant to the industry.

You will be able to see the learner’s strengths, abilities, interests and achievements that are related to construction (in orange) when you look at the Vocational Pathways information.

You can be sure that if someone has achieved a vocational pathway in your sector then the job seeker will have a strong base of skills and knowledge to help them succeed.

Detailed information for employers about Vocational Pathways can be found at

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