The post high›school landscape has changed, and many young people are taking a reality check as they look to the future.
University and polytechnics remain popular, but the need for expertise in manual professions has caused an industry and government shakeup, making trades and manual professions more attractive and accessible.
‘‘The last year of school has been about University entrance,’’ South Otago High School (SOHS) Careers Co› ordinator Pam Cullen said.
‘‘In that time we’d have a handful of students in year 13. Now with the likes of Pathways and Gateways, and secondary tertiary partnerships, students who are interested in trades or primary industries want to stay on to direct their studies and use their last years getting a strong start in manual careers.’’
In schools, Vocational Pathways shows students how their learning is valued in the real world by aligning NCEA standards with six industries, developing an understanding of how their study applies to the world of work, and the qualifications and skills required by industry.
Together with their NCEA level 2, students can achieve a Vocational Pathways Award, indicating level 2 achievement aligned with knowledge and skills that employers are looking for.
‘‘At SOHS we’re proud of the educational options our seniors have,’’ deputy principal Nigel Scarth said.
‘‘Each student has an individualised pathway to meet their own goals. These options include our Gateways programme, engineering partnerships, construction with Big River Homes, work experience, courses at SIT or Otago Polytechnic. Alongside this we have the traditional academic opportunities.’’
Alex Sands had a view to welding and fabrication while Emily Johns had racked up credits for the beauty therapy service industry.
Jess Shappard said her sense of purpose pulled toward high country farming, while head› boy Josiah Goodwin planned to combine his practical farming training with University Ag› Hort qualifications in a management role that would lead to owning his own farm.
‘‘We got credits through normal school subjects we were already working on, like a bonus to show you have certain direction,’’ Mr Goodwin said.
Sarah Phillips, on Gateway work experience at Mike Knowles Mechanical, said she was interested in machines and was considering a career with the Army’s Corps of Royal New Zealand Engineers.
The students said the avoidance of tertiary debt through free industry training, and the future employment security of their growing sectors were key considerations when choosing their career paths.