Capturing the outdoors with the 3+2 programme

Issue: Volume 96, Number 3

Posted: 27 February 2017
Reference #: 1H9d69

A 3+2 outdoor adventure tourism pilot programme has proved a winning formula for Taranaki NCEA Level 3 students.

Located under the shadow of Mount Taranaki and with the Egmont National Park 10 minutes away, the call for adventure in the outdoors is an ever-beckoning presence at St Mary’s Diocesan School in Stratford.

2016 saw the completion of a successful year-long trial of a 3+2 senior outdoor education course involving St Mary’s Diocesan, Taranaki Outdoor Pursuits and Education Centre (TSB TOPEC) and the International Travel College of New Zealand.

The year also produced a positive outcome for year 13 student Heavenly Kieft.

Heavenly combined her two days a week at TSB TOPEC, completing components of the National Certificate in Outdoor Leadership course including rock climbing, bushwalking and bush survival, with her online interactive Level 3 tourism standards through the International Travel College of New Zealand and her in-school passions of fabric technology and photography.

Heavenly’s photography folio board reflected her year’s adventures in the outdoors, as well as the synergies of working across three education providers.

Hailing from a dairy farm on the outskirts of Stratford, Heavenly completed a Gateway programme as in 2015 she had identified farming as her vocational pathway.

While working outdoors appealed to her, the relative isolation of farming life didn’t suit Heavenly’s strong interpersonal skills. The TSB TOPEC programme offered her the opportunity to explore the outdoors within a people-oriented industry.

St Mary’s Diocesan School was delighted that the 3+2 programme allowed her to return to school, and she was voted Head Boarder by her peers and school staff – an opportunity she might have missed if she had left school at the end of year 12.

Heavenly says her last year of school was a very special one.

“The year at TOPEC, spending two days out of school each week, was an amazing experience and something I’ll always remember,” she says.

“I enjoyed meeting new people and overcoming challenges that I had been scared of facing, such as flipping kayaks, and jumping from heights. I overcame a lot of challenges thanks to the TOPEC crew; they taught me a lot and gave me a lot more experience and knowledge."

“They helped me find what I love and now I am carrying on with an outdoor adventure tourism course.”

3+2 for success

TSB TOPEC director Steve Ralph is equally positive about the 3+2 programme.

“We believe that the Level 3 course fulfils an important role for Taranaki senior school learners who are looking to develop leadership, self-confidence and outdoor skills,” he says.

“We have been developing this course format over a number of years, with last year’s group being its first graduates."

“The three days in school and two days with us has been a successful format – it’s allowed us to work in partnership with St Mary’s Diocesan School to facilitate meaningful and relevant learning opportunities for students.”

St Mary’s Diocesan School’s principal Fiona Green is delighted that all girls on the course achieved their NCEA Level 3 through a combination of school subjects, online learning and TSB TOPEC outdoors standards.

“I was very proud, attending the graduation ceremony for our girls. They have all gained so much knowledge and, importantly, they have had a chance to relate to others, manage their own learning, and participate and contribute in three different learning settings."

“The success of this pilot, mixed-setting programme means we have established a strong platform for this vocational pathway into the future. The outdoor and adventure tourism industry is one of New Zealand’s growth areas and having confident and competent girls able to progress into this industry is wonderful.”

Fiona reports that this year, Heavenly is continuing to follow her dreams and has undertaken an outdoor adventure course at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

For more information about TSB TOPEC, visit the TSB TOPEC website(external link) 

To find out more about the Ministry of Education’s 3+2 programme, visit the Youth Guarantee website(external link) 

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 11:46 am, 27 February 2017

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