Key competencies

Employability skills and work readiness

Review the employability skills or “soft skills” that can broadly defined as a set of skills or competencies that help you get, and then keep, a job. In addition to employability skills, work readiness and other sector-specific skills build a fuller picture for a prospective employer of how you as a job applicant are likely to perform and adapt, fit into their company’s culture and ultimately become a successful employee.

Key competencies and tertiary competencies

The key competencies Cross sector alignment

For students to successfully live, learn, and work as members of society, the development of competencies needs to be an integral element in all programme design. The diagram below shows the competencies that have been developed for schools and tertiary providers and how these align with each other. Career management competencies have also been identified as a useful tool for educators to take into consideration when planning programmes and responding to the needs and interests of students.

This diagram suggests how the tertiary competencies align with those of Te Whāriki (Early Childhood Education) and The New Zealand Curriculum

The key competencies – Cross-sector alignment


Key competencies within the Vocational Pathways

Elements of key competencies that can be experienced, supported, and developed while following a ­­­Vocational Pathway


Managing self

Acting autonomously

  • self-motivation
  • time management
  • travel
  • money management
  • gear safety
  • self-respect
  • are reliable, resourceful, resilient, enterprising
  • can get to where they are meant to be, at the right time


  • making sense of information, ideas, and experiences
  • developing curiosity
  • making decisions and shaping actions
  • are able to ask questions
  • can challenge assumptions or perceptions

Using language symbols and texts

Using tools interactively

  • making meaning of codes of communication and of knowledge
  • understanding and using symbolic systems of language –  oral/aural/written/visual
  • using words, numbers, and images
  • applying technologies
  • are able to understand a range of communication codes
  • can choose which code/notation to use at different times


Relating to others

Operating in social groups

  • actively listening
  • recognising different points of view
  • negotiating
  • sharing ideas
  • are able to work co-operatively as part of a team
  • can share ideas and information


Participating and contributing

Operating in social groups

  • active involvement
  • contributing in a group
  • making connections with others
  • creating opportunities for others
  • have a sense of belonging and the confidence to participate in new situations
  • can balance rights, roles, and responsibilities