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Ara supports schools to offer more

Ara is working closely with over 50 secondary schools across the region, stretching from Oamaru to Kaikoura, to supplement school subject choices through the Dual Pathway programme.

The Dual Pathway portfolio contains a range of part time, skills-based courses that offer students alternatives to what is provided at their school. By giving students the option to study specific areas that they are passionate about, it allows them to stay in school while still working towards their career goals.

“When I came to New Zealand two years ago I couldn’t find anything similar offered [in technology], so I was grateful when I got the opportunity to join the Digital Technologies course,” Alok Chander, a year 13 student from Christchurch Boys’ High School, says.

Courses offered range from Business Studies, Trade Skills and Hospitality to Digital Technologies and Engineering (a full list of courses is available here). All courses lead into tertiary qualifications to further develop the skills required for specific careers and are fully funded at no extra cost to students.

Dual Pathways allows students to gain different secondary school qualifications depending on their needs. University Entrance, New Zealand Certificate and NCEA level 1, 2 and 3 are all offered through the programme.

Over 2000 students have enrolled in the programme since Ara started the Dual Pathway programme in 2011, and demand continues to increase year-on-year with over 600 students enrolling in 2018.

The programme is making a difference to students. Dan Bublik, a year 13 student from Shirley Boys’ High School, has also been studying Digital Technologies through the programme for two years. “At school they have an ICT course, but it doesn’t really cover programming and networking, which is much more specific to my interests,” he says.

“If I’m having an issue with a project, even after hours I can text or email our [Ara] tutor any time and he’s always happy to help. Before doing this course I was going to go to university and study Computer Science, but I’ve just recently decided to enrol in the Bachelor of Information and Computing technologies at Ara.”

Courses are delivered at Ara campuses or at schools. “It’s about creating a different learning environment to the school environment,” Emma West, Ara Engagement Manager says. “We want to help students find out what kind of learner they are and what they can do to succeed.”

The Dual Pathway portfolio was designed to meet regional and national economic development needs and employment shortages. Ara is working with industry leaders to ensure students are gaining sought-after skills for further study or employment.

For a more in-depth look at what Dual Pathway has to offer, taster courses are available as part of the Experience Ara programme.

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