Gateway programme helps student become teacher

Issue: Volume 97, Number 11

Posted: 22 June 2018
Reference #: 1H9jLA

Through the efforts of schools and the Tertiary Education Commission, many Year 11-13 students have the opportunity to access structured workplace learning through the Gateway programme

Early childhood teacher Emma Clark knew she wanted a career in education since her own time as a student. She took part in Ellesmere College’s Gateway programme about eight years ago and still works at Dunsandel Childcare and Preschool, where she initially completed her work placement.

“I struggled a lot with the theory side at school,” says Emma.

“Gateway gave me that chance to go, ‘actually, I can do it, even though it might be a different way’.

“It was a confidence boost – I’m quite a different person now to eight years ago. I’ll sort of take on any challenge and give it a go.”

Participating in the programme also gave Emma a different perspective on what success looks like, which she now takes into her own role as a teacher.

“Every child learns in a different way so you need to adjust your practice to suit the child. I think that every person, every child, is different, so you need to be able to see how they learn and give the best outcomes and opportunities for them.”

Although entering an unfamiliar workplace as a teenager was daunting at first, Emma says the support of her parents, employer and Gateway coordinator helped her to succeed.

“I wouldn’t say many people my age have been in the same job in the same workplace for eight years and I put that down to Gateway leading me all the way to being a fully qualified and registered teacher, which is quite amazing.”

Building relationships

Ellesmere College Vocational Pathways Coordinator Kelly McEvedy says Gateway is good for students who feel like they’re ready for the next step, but who also want to continue in school and achieve NCEA.

Students at Ellesmere College can take the programme as one of their full-time subject options and usually spend one day a week on the job. Kelly believes the programme is more effective when students complete it over the course of a year, as they have time to build relationships with employers and industry.

This also gives employers the opportunity to see students develop within a role, which can then lead to employment beyond school.

“We have employers who have created positions because they’ve seen what a great student they have, they turn up on time, work hard and they use their initiative. And so they have said ‘we don’t want to lose them’ and so they have created roles earlier than what they might have in order to hold on to that student; it is pretty exciting for the student to know that they’ve made that impression,” says Kelly.

“I think a good 50 per cent of previous Gateway students are still working in the same industry. When you’re in there and you’re enjoying it, it becomes a natural progression.”

Through Gateway, Ellesmere College is able to offer a diverse range of pathways it would not otherwise be able to offer, including teaching, dairy farming, veterinary nursing, signmaking, digital media, equine and butchery.

“Not all school subjects sound like they’re leading into a career and even if we know they are, students can’t always see that. Through Gateway they are able to do exactly [what is required for their desired role],” she says.

“I think that the majority of students would say that it has kept them focused and given them a goal.” 

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 11:52 am, 22 June 2018

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