Peddling to his potential - Otumoetai College

Posted on 2015-02-20 by Wil McD

Otumoetai College Year 11 student Kieran Ngatai is on track for a bright future thanks to Vocational Pathways and BMX. The 15 year-old has been riding competitively since age four and has his eyes firmly on a place in New Zealand’s Olympic team but he also has a clear plan beyond BMX. “I’m realistic and most riders are done by about 25 years old. My other goal is to study Engineering at University.”

The ambition was sparked in Year 10 when Kieran, who is of Ngaterangi decent, was nominated by his science and maths teachers for the ‘BEAMS’ (Business, Engineering, Architecture, Medicine and Science) programme at Auckland University. BEAMS is interactive workshops, run by the Equity Office for Maori and Pacifica students across a range of faculties, including Engineering.

Kieran says the University was clear on requirements. He needed to study math in Year 10, and both math and physics in Year 11 to qualify for a place. This requirement was foundation for Kieran’s subject selection in Year 11. Otumoetai College also implemented the Ministry of Education’s Vocational Pathways in 2014. Vocational Pathways is a tool that provides a clear framework for vocational options, supports better programme design, careers advice, and improves links between education and employment.

Kieran says: “Vocational Pathways has helped to formalise and finalise my aspirations of Engineering. I might specialise in Civil, but am still working on this part of my pathway.” Deputy Principal Bruce Farthing says Vocational Pathways is an excellent innovation as a tool to initiate discussion with students. He says the College is using Vocational Pathways profile builder in conjunction with academic mentoring and online progress reporting with great success. The profile builder is a tool which you can use to plan your study options.

The Profile builder is another tool which then shows a student’s record of achievement. It uses a visual graph that shows learner achievement against the six Vocational Pathways - Primary Industries; Services Industries; Social & Community Services; Manufacturing & Technology; Construction & Infrastructure; and Creative Industries. Learners are able to identify their progress and identify where they need to raise their level of achievement when planning their courses and check course selections provide the pathways needed to achieve goals.

Farthing explains: “We are seeing a marked difference on previous years. Staff are mentoring for engagement. Students are more engaged and focused. Students are asking better questions when considering their options and our careers advisors are booked out. “With progress at the touch of a button all involved can see what needs to be done for students to achieve their goals. This is no small task in a school of more than 2,000 students. We are also getting great feedback from parents on how motivated students are.”

Kieran says he is on his way to achieving Vocational Pathway Awards in the Manufacturing and Technology and Creative Industry pathways. To achieve the Vocational Pathways Award, the learner must achieve NCEA level 2 with 60 level 2 credits from the Recommended Assessment Standards for a Vocational Pathways sector of which 20 must be sector related. Learners can achieve more than one Vocational Pathways Award if they complete more than one Vocational Pathway.