Celebrating top-performing students in vocational education

Issue: Volume 99, Number 13

Posted: 14 August 2020
Reference #: 1HA9pw

Secondary schools and wharekura around Aotearoa New Zealand can now submit their nominations for a vocational award to present to their students this year.

The Prime Minister’s Vocational Excellence Award is back in its second year to help raise the status of vocational pathways and recognise top-performing secondary students in vocational education.

The award aims to inspire more rangatahi to pursue vocational pathways and careers when they leave school. It contributes to a wide range of initiatives currently underway to encourage more people to see vocational education and training as an attractive option. 

Every state secondary school and wharekura can nominate their top Year 12 or 13 student who is engaged in a vocational programme of learning for the award. Each school’s winner receives a $2,000 cash prize and a certificate, which is intended to be presented at their school prizegiving ceremony alongside other top awards. 

Awards provide confidence

Former St Dominic’s College student and 2019 award recipient Sarah Engle says the award gave her the confidence to embark on her chosen career pathway.

“I was shocked,” she says of the win. “It’s a great feeling to know you’ve got the support of your teachers and your school.”

Sarah says she’s always had an interest in the beauty community, but it wasn’t until an opportunity arose through the Gateway Programme last year to explore hairdressing that she knew she had found the pathway for her. 

Since winning the award, Sarah has started working at The Hairdresser, a hair salon on Auckland’s North Shore, and has started working towards a hairdressing apprenticeship through the Hair and Beauty Industry Training Organisation (HITO).

“I love it. It’s been such a great experience so far,” she says.

Sarah encourages students to take opportunities that come their way, including applying for this year’s awards. 

“Dive in head first,” she says. “Just do it!”

Applications will be processed in September in time for school prizegivings from mid-October to early December 2020.

For more information visit www.pmvea.education.govt.nz (external link)


Supporting vocational pathways

In addition to Gateway and Trades Academies(external link), programmes that allow school students to access workplace learning and education at tertiary institutions, the following initiatives help raise the profile of vocational education and encourage more young people to consider vocational careers:

School trades events – A series of local events are happening across New Zealand to promote trades and ‘earn while you learn’ pathways to students. These events will link students with employers and enable them to explore industry-specific career opportunities. Visit education.govt.nz/education-to-employment(external link) to find events in your region.   

Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund – Young people who want to undergo training or apprenticeship in certain industries may be eligible to apply for the Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund. The fund covers the costs of training and apprenticeship and covers tuition fees, compulsory course costs, assessments and compulsory student services fees. Students can visit the Tertiary Education Commission(external link) website to check if they are eligible for this fund.

Apprenticeship Support Programme – A package of financial supports was announced this year to help employers keep apprentices and Mana in Mahi participants connected to work and training while New Zealand recovers from the impact of Covid-19. Visit Work and Income website(external link) for more information. 

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 8:14 am, 14 August 2020

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