What are the Vocational Pathways?
The Vocational Pathways provide new ways to achieve NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 and develop pathways that progress to further study, training and employment. Achieving NCEA Level 2 is the foundation for success in further education and the world of work, and further learning. Level 3 builds upon this through shared opportunities across school, tertiary and industry training. The Vocational Pathways provide a framework for students to show how their learning and achievement is valued in the workplace by aligning learning to the skills needed for industry.
The six Vocational Pathways are:
NCEA Levels 1and 2 Vocational Pathways were launched in 2013. This was a result of Government agencies, the industry training sector, secondary and tertiary representatives and industry and employer representatives working together. In 2015 NCEA Level 3 Vocational Pathways were also released.
Benefits of using the Vocational Pathways
The Vocational Pathways enable young people to:
find out what standards, skills and competencies are valued by employers in particular sectors
find out the job or career options which are available in each sector
identify what current and future programmes of study support their career pathways
undertake a relevant and coherent study programme that will enable them to achieve NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3
demonstrate a vocational profile to tertiary providers and employers.
The Vocational Pathways enable educators to:
see the recommended standards valued by employers in particular sectors
develop relevant and coherent learning programmes that enable young people to achieve NCEA Level 2 with a Vocational Pathways Award, NCEA Level 3 or equivalent, and progress towards further study, training or employment for a Vocational Pathway
share a student’s individual vocational profile with parents and whānau so they can become more engaged and supportive in their child’s learning.
The Vocational Pathways enable employers to:
easily identify if students have the key skills, competencies and qualifications relevant to their sector
identify a student’s strengths and interests evident in their learning achievement
be confident students are achieving a foundation education which provides them with the necessary skills to participate in the workplace or move to further learning
see developments at Level 3 to improve connections between school learning, tertiary study and industry training.
What are the Vocational Pathways made up of?
The six Vocational Pathways improve the relevance of learning for students by indicating how their learning and achievement is valued by broad sectors of the workforce. Each has been colour coded for ease of recognition to help students and teachers plan study programmes.
Government, industry and educational representatives selected a range of Level 1 and 2 achievement and unit standards that they believed provide a curriculum foundation in each Vocational Pathway. These are known as Recommended standards.
At Level 2 an additional category has been given to some of the Recommended standards known as Sector Related standards. These are standards that are closely related to the Vocational Pathway and require development of skills from, or direct experience in, an industry setting. The make-up of the pathways is important if learners are seeking to achieve a Vocational Pathways Award (see below).
At Level 3 achievement standards and Levels 3-7 qualifications have been mapped to the Vocational Pathways.
To view the standards and qualifications that have been mapped to the Vocational Pathways click here.
Alternatively you can browse the Levels 1 and 2 assessment standards using the standards mapping tool. Select a pathway and then choose a level to see the mapped standards - Vocational Pathways Standards Listing
Level 2 Vocational Pathways Award
The Award enables employers to assess whether potential employees’ skills align with their industry requirements more easily.
To receive a Vocational Pathways Award, students must first gain NCEA Level 2, which is 60 credits from Level 2 and 20 credits from any other level; 80 credits in total. 10 of these 80 credits must satisfy the literacy requirements, and 10 of these 80 credits must satisfy the numeracy requirements. For more information about NCEA go to the NZQA website.
To get a Vocational Pathways Award, a minimum of 20 Level 2 credits must be from Sector Related standards, with the remaining from Recommended standards to make up 60 pathway credits in total.
The following diagram shows this relationship:
The Vocational Pathways Award(s) will show on a student’s NZQA Record of Achievement. This is a real advantage when young people look for work and training opportunities in the sector.
For more information about the Vocational Pathways Award click here
Vocational Pathways Profile
Learners can show their individual profile and Vocational Pathways Award to potential employers or when making choices about further study in their pathway. The profile shows potential employers how a learner’s achievement relates to particular pathways and therefore what their strengths and interests are.
It looks like this:
The Vocational Pathways Award on this Record of Achievement shows the learner has achieved the following:
- NCEA Literacy
NCEA Level 2
A Vocational Pathways Award in two pathways – Creative Industries and Services Industries.
The Vocational Pathways Award is shown by having at least 60 Recommended credits in each pathway, including a minimum of 20 Sector Related credits in each pathway.
Using the Profile Builder to help plan programmes of study
The Profile Builder is a tool that helps students to explore their study options by identifying the standards at NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 that align to particular Vocational Pathways. Students can use the tool to see where they are heading and think about where they would like to go.
The Profile Builder tool can also be used by educators when planning Vocational Pathways teaching and learning programmes and working with students to explore their study options.
Level 3 Vocational Pathways
Level 3 Achievement Standards and current Levels 3-7 local, National and New Zealand qualifications have been mapped to Vocational Pathways in order to provide students with an ongoing pathway. The maps help students intending to study towards NCEA Level 3 and other Level 3 qualifications make informed choices about their study options in relation to the type of degree level study they may wish to pursue. The maps can be found here.
There are a range of great resources to assist students, parents, whānau, employers and educators with using the Vocational Pathways on our resources page. Resources include:
Youth Guarantee updates and brochures
Vocational Pathways materials
Programme development and assessment resources
Assessment standards spreadsheets downloads
Guidance for educators
These pages contain guidance for schools, ITOs, and tertiary providers who wish to develop contextualised learning programmes using the six Vocational Pathways. Contexts for learning are provided as examples to encourage development in the sector.
It outlines key ideas about Vocational Pathways and delivery approaches that align with a Vocational Pathway philosophy, drawing together secondary and tertiary perspectives on the competencies that are required for NCEA level 2, and exploring the connections within and across pathways. Programme design is a key feature. Assessment programmes are discussed, along with an example of an assessment programme. Questions are provided to apply the information to your programme and to share your thinking with colleagues.
Handy online tools
There are a range of tools that students can use to help design their future career opportunities and educators can use to help design their programmes:
Occupation Outlook 2016 is a great place to look when thinking about your study and career options. It contains education, employment and income information on 60 key occupations in New Zealand to give you a clearer picture of possible career paths. These 60 were chosen for their size, popularity, and potential for future growth.
CareerQuest is a great tool that recommends jobs based on students’ actual interests. Students rate their interests in a range of areas from no interest to very interested. The tool then recommends particular jobs based on this data.
Skill Matcher helps students to generate job ideas based on the skills they enjoy/are interested in learning, shows them how their skills could apply to many occupations within New Zealand, and provides them with tips on what steps to take next.
Careers NZ is an organisation designed to help people make smart decisions about working and learning in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) ensures that New Zealand qualifications are valued as credible and robust both nationally and internationally. Students can view their Vocational Profile on the NZQA website.
TKI is a bilingual portal-plus web community which provides educational material for teachers, school managers, and the Vocational Pathways Internal Assessment Resources
Find resources for education providers on TKI:
NZQA Assessment Standards Support Material
Assessment Support Material for the NZQA Vocational Pathways linked assessment standards can be found here
Clean Technology - Careers for the Future Video (via Kapiti Coast District Council)
View the student stories showing Vocational Pathways in practice
Watch how the Māori and Pasifika trades training initiative is helping students to gain relevant skills and qualifications so they can participate and be successful in the workplace.
Frequently Asked Questions about Vocational Pathways
Email your questions and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
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