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Pilot project tracks school leaver aspirations

6 August 2002 Media Statement

Pilot project tracks school leaver aspirations and destinations

Results from a pilot study tracking Porirua and Christchurch school leavers will be used to further refine the government’s plans to introduce an Education and Training Leaving Age, says Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey.

The Destinations And Tracking pilot project tracked the aspirations and destinations of senior secondary school students. Results will be used to improve schools careers programmes and to provide better support for “at risk” students. Labour included plans to introduce an Education and Training Leaving Age in its pre-election industry training policy. It commits the government to ensuring that all 15 to 19 year olds are engaged in education, training or work by 2007.

Steve Maharey said the pilot study would be particularly useful in designing the right mix of education, training and in-work programmes which will appeal to young people and ensure they start learning the skills they will need across their working lives.

“The pilot project has shown us that it is possible to track students and to use the information gained to improve support for young people making decisions about their future.

“The survey also highlights that high a high percentage of year 13 students change their plans over the Christmas holiday period. From the students surveyed in November 2001 about their intended aspirations, 78% stated they would return to full time secondary or tertiary education in 2002, and 9% of students reported being unsure about their intentions for 2002. In fact when we followed up with these students the following March 18% of students had changed their stated aspirations (35% of year 13 students) and 86% were in full time study (secondary & tertiary) in 2002 (66% of year 13 students).

“This shows us that students often change their minds and that we need to provide a range of attractive post-school learning environments so that young people keep learning in other settings.

“While there has been significant employment growth since Labour came to office there are still far too many young people not in work and not learning. We must ensure young people get a good start and build their skills so that they can find meaningful employment.
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“This survey will add to work now underway to develop our Leaving Age strategy. The second phase of the two year study will be implemented this year and will include further development and refinement of the data collection and analysis,” Steve Maharey said.

The Destinations And Tracking pilot Project was undertaken by Career Services, in partnership with Skill NZ, as a result of a proposal made to the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs.

The pilot study involved eight Christchurch and four Porirua schools were involved using Year 10, 11,12 & 13 students. Aspirations data was collected from 2347 students in Term 4 of 2001, by self-completion paper questionnaire. Destinations data was collected from 2121 of these students in February/March 2002, predominately via the telephone.


Copies of the report can be downloaded from the Career Services website,, or email: for a hard copy.

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