Gateway is a programme funded by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) that enables secondary school students to experience real workplaces.
Students gain work experience in various industries and, in turn, make informed choices about their future career paths.
Through the programme, students spend time in the workplace with a local employer (usually one day a week), enabling them to gain practical skills and knowledge.
They work towards achieving particular unit standards (learning topics), which will prepare them for further study, training or employment after high school.
For employers, involvement in the programme is an opportunity:
• to bring an extra pair of hands into the workplace,
• to showcase their industry,
• to give something back to the community,
• for staff to gain experience in training, and
• to access potential future employees.
Most of all, it means employers are giving an interested student the opportunity to develop a lifelong passion for an industry at a crucial point in their career.
Successful Gateway trainees become ideal employees, and will be well prepared for Modern Apprenticeships and other workplace training schemes.
Gateway is especially popular with small companies, including those that have not been involved in workplace training before. It offers businesses an easy way to explore the benefits of workplace training or modern apprenticeships.
How does Gateway work?
The programme is specially designed for students who have shown a particular interest in an industry. Gateway co-ordinators in schools identify students who could benefit from the programme, and will work with local employers to place them in a workplace for one day a week.
There is no cost to employers or students. Employers are able to meet potential students, and there is no obligation to offer the student a position for the long term. The student is not paid for their time.
Gateway co-ordinators make sure students are prepared for work, and are available to support employers and students throughout the duration of the programme.
Trainees have clear targets for the knowledge and skills to be gained as part of the programme. They will be formally assessed against unit or achievement standards on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.
To be eligible for Gateway, school students must:
• be in years 11 to 13 (forms 5 to 7) at school,
• be New Zealand or Australian residents,
• have a positive attitude to work and training,
• be interested in a career in a particular industry and be work-ready, and
• fit any criteria set by the employer’s company. For example, they must be available to come in on weekends if required.
Employers wanting to offer a Gateway work placement to a student must:
• ensure the workplace environment is safe and appropriate for the age range,
• ensure the Gateway student will learn in the workplace with support from a workplace mentor,
• ensure the mentor and workplace environment is positive and supportive,
• sign a written agreement and a learning plan agreed between the school, the employer, the accredited industry assessor and the student, and
• be willing to attest in writing that students have displayed workplace competencies.