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Vocational education to take centre stage in schools


More than 85,000 students will talk to around 4000 employers at events to promote vocational education in schools, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.

The Government is funding 343 schools with $3000 each to run trades-based events to give both students and teachers the opportunity to connect with and explore industry-specific careers. Most will take place in terms one and two this year.

It comes as the Government unveils a $12 billion infrastructure programme to build and upgrade roads, rail, schools and hospitals, creating thousands of new jobs up and down the country.

“It’s a great time for young people to get into the trades and the interest from schools wanting to run these events has been tremendous,” Chris Hipkins said.

“The Government originally planned to fund events for 250 schools, but the Ministry of Education received 343 eligible proposals and we’re funding all of them.

“The schools tell us that more than 85,000 students are expected to attend these events, with more than 4,000 employers joining them.

“It’s also great to see that some schools are collaborating with others in their area to run larger, joint events.

“The funding for these events is part of a concerted effort by this government to encourage more people to consider vocational education as a pathway into employment.

“The events will provide young people with the opportunity to get a better understanding of the skills employers are looking for by engaging directly with them.

“They will provide opportunities for young people and their teachers to hear first-hand about the world of work and explore industry-specific careers while in school. Employers will be able to showcase trades and service industry careers to young people and their families.

“This is all about building better local links between education and employment, and between schools and the wider community, which is at the heart of our reform of vocational education. I hope the events will lead to lasting relationships that will benefit our communities, our young people and our economy,” Chris Hipkins said.

The school trade events are just one of a number of Government initiatives aimed at promoting trades and work skills training, including:

• funding 2,000 more Trades Academy places from this year, and up to 2,000 more places for Gateway

• supporting a further 140 events organised by community partners, employers, industry groups, the ITO sector, vocational education providers, and other agencies that connect schools, communities and employers over the next couple of years


• creating a new education-to-employment brokerage service with brokers building strong local relationships with businesses and schools and acting as a liaison between schools and employers to highlight local trades and vocational opportunities for students

• developing a marketing campaign to promote vocational careers to students, parents, whānau, teachers and employers, and


• reviewing secondary-tertiary funding and support arrangements with a view to improving school students’ access to secondary-tertiary and workplace learning.

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