Vocational Pathways a boon for employers

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The latest Vocational Pathways were launched last week in Wellington – the final piece of an initiative that has largely been applauded by the business community.

The pathways will be rolled out across schools next year and are designed to assist students to plot a path through school to a career in an industry of their choice. The Vocational Pathways website helps students to understand which credits and courses lead to which careers and to build a profile that shows them in which industries their NCEA credits could help them find work.

“These publications highlight the areas of learning that different industries value, allowing students to build a profile of learning that includes the relevant skills and knowledge that employers are looking for,” Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce said.

The pathways currently cover five industries: construction and infrastructure, manufacturing and technology, primary industries, service industries, and social and community services. (A sixth one for the creative industries may be launched later.) They were developed by Industry Training Organisations (ITOs), business, education providers, and the Ministry of Education and other government agencies.

While the benefits for students are clear, employers are also welcoming the initiative because of the closer alignment that it aims to achieve between the education system and the requirements of the business sector. “Under Vocational Pathways, these industries gain access to young people who previously man not have been identified,” according to Garry Fissenden, CEO of The Skills Organisation (a multi-industry ITO). Fissenden called it a ‘win/win’ for students and employers.

Phil O’Reilly, chief executive of Business New Zealand, agreed. “Business has been concerned for some time with the performance of programmes provided for secondary school aged students and it’s good to see something concrete being done to connect students’ learning with further education and job options,” he said.

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