How to start training for a trade at school

Discover how you can combine NCEA with trade training and get work experience at school.

How to combine NCEA with trade studies at school

If you want to do trade qualifications or try tertiary training you can start while you’re still at secondary school.

There are several ways you can combine your NCEA studies at school with trade courses to get qualifications or work experience.

These programmes can also help you achieve an award in a Vocational Pathway for NCEA Level 2.

Your options will depend on what’s available at your school, so talk to your teacher, career adviser or dean to find out what options your school offers.

Trades academies

Trades academies teach pre-trade courses to Year 11 to 13 learners. Pre-trade training is a good option if you want to try a trade before you leave school.

Trades academy programmes are full time (25 to 30 hours a week) and you:

  • are enrolled at school, and study there or at another site such as a polytechnic
  • study towards NCEA Level 2 or above
  • study towards transferable, trades-related qualifications at NCEA Level 1, 2 or 3
  • may try out a job in a real work environment.

Talk to your school's career adviser or dean, or a trades academy adviser for more information about this programme.

Services academies

Services academies are military-focused programmes in schools for Year 11 to 13 learners who are no longer interested in school studies.

The programme runs for 12 months and you:

  • are enrolled at school
  • complete challenging outdoor activities
  • attend courses run by the NZ Defence Force youth development unit
  • build physical fitness, and get leadership and life skills
  • study for NCEA Level 1 literacy and numeracy credits
  • study for NCEA Level 2 credits
  • study for other trades-related credits.

Talk to your school's career adviser or dean for more information about this programme.

Gateway

Gateway programmes are for Year 11 to 13 learners who want to explore job options while studying towards NCEA.

In a 12-month Gateway programme you: 

  • are enrolled at school
  • study for NCEA Levels 1 to 3
  • try out a job in a real work environment
  • learn and are assessed for specific work knowledge and skills
  • study for trades-related credits.
  • TEC website - information about Gateway

Talk to your school's career adviser or dean, or a Gateway adviser for more information about this programme.

 

STAR (Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource)

STAR programmes are for Year 11 to 13 learners who want to explore tertiary study while still at school. Many tertiary education providers such as polytechnics and private training establishments (PTEs) offer open days, short courses and other ways to explore tertiary study.

In a STAR programme you: 

  • are enrolled at school
  • study for NCEA Levels 1 to 3
  • experience tertiary courses 
  • possibly start studying for tertiary qualifications. 

Talk to your school's career adviser or dean, or a STAR adviser for more information about this programme.

Flexible Partnerships (SAC 3+2)

Flexible Partnerships are programmes for senior secondary school learners, aged 16 or over, who want to start tertiary study at Level 3 or above while still at school. You are enrolled at school and at a tertiary training provider such as a polytechnic, and spend time at each location.

For three days a week you:

  • are enrolled at school 
  • attend school
  • study for NCEA Level 3.

For two days a week you: 

  • are enrolled at a tertiary training provider
  • attend a tertiary training provider
  • study for tertiary courses at Level 3 or above.

Talk to your school's career adviser or dean for more information about this programme.

Work experience options

Other ways to get work experience while still at school include Work Inspiration and Workchoice Day programmes.

Updated 29 Jul 2019