What are the Vocational Pathways?

The Vocational Pathways were developed in collaboration with industry and education to better prepare students for further study, training, or work. 

There are six pathways which align with six industry sectors:

Young people can use these pathways to learn skills and achieve qualifications that employers want. Employers can have greater confidence that young people are better prepared to participate in the workforce when they have achieved NCEA Level 2 with a Vocational Pathway.

To achieve a Vocational Pathways Award, a student must achieve 60 NCEA Level 2 credits from the recommended standards for the pathway(s), with 20 of those 60 credits specifically related to the sector (80 credits in total). Click here to see the relationship between NCEA Level 2 achievement and achievement with a Vocational Pathways Award.

What is a Vocational Profile?

A student’s Vocational Profile as part of NCEA Level 2 allows you to see:

  • which sector (pathway) their credits relate to

  • how many sector-related credits they have achieved

  • whether they have achieved a Vocational Pathways Award.

You can then easily determine whether a student’s skills and interests align with those required by your industry.

The screenshot below provides you with an indication of the Vocational Pathways information students can show you from the NZQA website. In this example, the student has gained NCEA Level 2 with two pathways; Manufacturing and Technology and Primary Industries. The ticks on these bars show that NCEA Level 2 has been achieved and that the student will be awarded a Vocational Pathways Award in both pathways. Note that some credits appear in more than one pathway.

NZQA Record of Achievement

Vocational Pathways beyond Level 2

Vocational Pathways for students can be supported by improving collaboration between employers and education.

Collaboration may include:

  • supporting provision of industry experiences with employers for students in years 11, 12 and 13

  • working with your ITO to develop part-time industry training  placements with agreements for students who are in year 13

  • working with your ITO to develop apprenticeship or cadetship opportunities for students who are  in year 13.

What are the benefits of Vocational Pathways for employers?

  • Skilled and competent young people who are better prepared for work and further study.
  • Vocational Pathways have been developed and endorsed by industry.

  • Vocational profiles that show how a student's achievement at Level 2 relates to your sector.

  • Clearer pathways from school to industry training, apprenticeships and further study beyond Level 4 for other industry roles.

  • Students’ pathway decision making is improved at Level 3 with the FindMyPath tool.

Industry messages

Malcolm Abernethy, New Zealand Contractors Association

Tony Gulliland, Westland Milk

Bill Sole, Competenz

Deanna Roa, EMQUAL

Contact us

Find your regional Secondary Tertiary Lead

Email us at vocational.pathways@education.govt.nz