Secondary Tertiary Pathways

As part of Te Kura’s authentic learning approach, Years 11 to 13 Full Time and Young Adult students can experience courses at Tertiary institutions or in a work environment in their area of career interest. This helps students build knowledge, understanding and skills for their chosen field while working towards a relevant qualification.

Your Te Kura learning advisor will help you identify STAR, Trades Academy, Internship or Gateway work placement opportunities in your community that match your interests.

Read more about some of your learning options:

Gateway is a work-experience programme for senior secondary students. With Gateway, you can experience working life while you’re still at school, learn some skills and earn unit standards at the same time.

Who can apply?

Full-time students in Years 11–13 can apply for a place on Gateway. There is a focus on self-directed learning, so students should be motivated, enthusiastic and work ready.

What qualifications do you get?

An individual Gateway Learning Plan is developed for each student using Te Kura subject and industry standards relevant to the students work placement. Each Gateway Learning Plan will offer at least 20 credits.

How does it work?

You will work at least 10 days on a regular and ongoing basis in a workplace that interests you. Common industries that our students have been placed in are listed below, although it may be possible to work in another field – just let us know what you want to do.

  • Automotive.
  • Building and construction.
  • Farming.
  • Early childhood.
  • Electrical.
  • Equine (horse industry).
  • Hospitality.
  • Retail.

Over the duration of the programme you will receive both on the job training and mentoring from a work-place supervisor. You will also be required to complete your 20 credit Gateway Learning Plan. This will include theory and sometimes practical work that will be assessed at your workplace. Generally, a Gateway placement is unpaid work.

How do I apply?

To express interest, fill out our downloadable Gateway application form, talk to your learning advisor, email Kathryn Smith or call her on 0800 65 99 88 ext 8552.

Although you can apply at any time, places on Gateway are limited, so you are advised to apply as soon as possible.

More information about Gateway

For more information about Gateway, talk to your learning advisor, or email Kathryn Smith or call her on 0800 65 99 88 ext 8552.


I liked that I could get credits while doing the stuff I love, i.e. getting out on the farm. It was also really helpful for me because I was able to learn new things that will help me with my goal of going to Otiwhiti [an Agricultural Training School]. Also, the work experience comes in handy for the real world.

Shiann, Primary ITO Gateway farming programme

What I really like about it is that you can tailor schooling to suit exactly what you need; subjects that help me rather than arbitrary subjects that aren’t relevant to what I want to do.

Tom, Gateway in Aviation

I gained knowledge about how a large business like The Warehouse is run, which included learning about staff management and how to manage stock. Because it is such a big operation it takes a lot of knowledge and a lot of time to understand how it all works.

Shannon, Red Shirts in Schools programme

I especially liked the fact that I can gain credits whilst learning important and relevant skills. The Gateway programme has lots of opportunities to tap into. I was able to do fantastic first aid courses and also it helped me prepare for my learners licence. The work-based placement idea is brilliant – it’s a bit like doing an apprenticeship. I would recommend Gateway as there is a huge variety of courses available.


If you are interested in a specific career, a STAR(Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource) course may help you work out if it’s right for you. STAR courses are short courses held at polytechnics or private training institutions for secondary school students. STAR courses are a great way to find out more about studying for a career. STAR courses are short courses at a polytechnic or private provider that you can take while you are still at school. There are many STAR courses in lots of different subjects. Some of the most popular courses are in subjects such as Hairdressing and Beauty, Automotive, Coffee making, and Computer programming.

How does it work?

You will participate in a short-term programme for a few days at a time or one day a week for several weeks.

Who can apply for a STAR course?

Full-time students and young adults enrolled in three or more subjects can apply. Preference is given to Year 11–13 students but sometimes Year 10 students can participate. If accepted for a STAR course, the course costs will be covered by Te Kura.

Travel subsidy

STAR students may apply for a travel subsidy. If your travel is by public transport, you will need to provide copies of your tickets or a receipt of purchase together with a travel subsidy form. If you travel by car, you will need to record the mileage. For more information contact Chris Berentson.

What courses are available in my area?

Click on your region below to find out what courses are available in your area. If there’s something you’d like to do that isn’t on the list let us know.

Bay of Plenty
Hawkes Bay/Gisborne
South Island

STAR-funded camps

Each year Te Kura offers two annual residential camps for full-time Te Kura students. Our North Island camp is held at the Hillary Outdoor Education camp, near Mt Ruapehu, and the South Island camp is held at Boyle River Outdoor Education Centre in the Lewis Pass.

If you are in Year 11 or above, you are welcome to apply to attend this course. There are 20 funded places available on each course, paid for by Te Kura.

Activities on camp include ropes courses, climbing wall, flying fox, caving, navigation, mountain walking, canoeing, rock climbing and abseiling.

Hilary Outdoor Education camp

Applications are now open for our annual residential camp for North Island students at Hillary Outdoors Tongariro.The dates for this are: Sunday 27 May-Friday 1 June 2018. Applications close on Tuesday 3 April 2018. The application form with further info can be found here: Hillary Outdoors 2018

Camp testimonials

Thank you for organising for me to go to the Hillary Outdoors course. I enjoyed it so much and had so much fun and made really cool friendships through it.


Just wanted to say thank you for enabling our daughter attend the Hillary Outdoor Education camp. She has come home really happy and says she has made some great friends. She said she pushed herself and was just so amazed at what she could do and achieve. This camp has been a significant step for her. We have been impressed with the organisation and care involved with our daughter.

Thomas family

Find out more

STAR courses must be booked by members of Te Kura’s Development team. Find out who your local contact is for STAR courses below or discuss your interest with your learning advisor.

  • Northern Region – email Matthew Smith or phone him on 0800 65 99 88 ext 8572
  • Central North Region and Central South Region – email Chris Berentson or phone him on 0800 65 99 88 ext 8479
  • South Island – email Warrick McCutcheon or phone 0800 65 99 88 ext 8374

STAR testimonials

I’ve done multiple STAR courses and have enjoyed all of them. You get to experience different areas of work and careers without having to make a long-term commitment. STAR courses are short and most courses have credits (assessments) attached, which makes it worth the time spent at the course. The tutors are super supportive in helping you achieve the learning outcomes and are always happy to answer questions and give feedback.


Te Kura offers trades programmes around New Zealand for students in Year 11 and above. They are:

  • practical and hands-on programmes with tertiary organisations such as polytechnics and private training organisations
  • usually face to face, one or two days a week.

The programmes lead to NCEA Level 2, further training and study towards your goals or to a career. To participate you must be a full-time student with Te Kura or a Young Adult , studying a minimum of three subjects at NCEA Level 1 and be committed to completing the programme over one or two years.

How does it work?

You will attend a Trades Academy course for one or two days a week with one of our partners. Our partners include:

  • Ara Institute of Canterbury – Ashburton, Christchurch, Oamaru, Timaru
  • Enviroskills – Northland and Rotorua
  • G and H Trade Training – North Island wide (see our flyers for information on carpentry and automotive training) – East Tamaki, Hamilton, Napier, North Shore, Palmerston North, Wellington, Whangarei
  • Hawkes Bay Schools Trades Academy (EIT) – Gisborne and Hastings
  • Land Based Trade Academy (National Trades Academy) – Christchurch
  • Manukau Institute of Technology Trades Academy – Auckland
  • NorthTec - Whangarei
  • Otago Secondary-Tertiary College (Otago Polytechnic) – Cromwell and Dunedin
  • PITA (Taratahi) – North Island
  • Taranaki Trades Academy (WITT)
  • Toi Ohomai – Bay of Plenty
  • Top of the South Trades Academy (NMIT) – Marlborough and Nelson
  • Unitec - Auckland
  • U-Skills (UCOL) – Masterton, Palmerston North and Wanganui
  • Waikato Trades Academy (Wintec) – Hamilton, Pukekohe and Thames
  • Wellington Trades Academy (Weltec/Whitirea)
  • West Coast Trades Academy (Tai Poutini) – Greymouth and Westport.
  • Southern Institute of Technology (SIT)

In addition, courses are available by distance with PORSE.

We are continually looking for new partners and opportunities for our students. If you are interested in a programme or provider not listed here, please get in touch with the Youth Transitions Team through

What’s in it for me?

  • A hands-on, practical approach to prepare you for work or further tertiary study.
  • An individual learning plan based on your interests and passions.
  • Improved confidence, self-esteem and work readiness.
  • The chance of getting into the workforce and/or trade training faster.

Who can apply?

To be eligible to apply for a place on a Huarahi Trades Academy programme, you must:

  • be a secondary school aged student and
  • enrolled with Te Kura in at least three subjects at a minimum of NCEA Level 1.

This is a full-time commitment over a one to two year period, although some students may achieve their goals over a longer or shorter period. There are no tuition fees.

Find out more

If you’re interested in being part of the Huarahi Trades Academy, talk to your learning advisor or contact Kathryn Smith on 0800 65 99 88 ext 8552 or email


Classroom experience is really awesome in getting socialisation. You think you’ll be overwhelmed in a class of complete strangers but you’re not; everyone’s in the same boat. You learn to work together on projects, to sweat together in the gym, to talk together about your work and to eat kebabs together in the breaks. Being in a tertiary institution really lets you see what is expected of you at that level – your behaviour and also your work ethic.

Jeanli, Health (UCOL)

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and it helped me to decide on future career options. The tutors are helpful and friendly and it is a great way to meet new people.

Sarah, Art (WITT)

Have you got your eye on a particular career and want a head start? We can offer tertiary-based, practical subjects outside the school curriculum. Students in Year 12 and above can apply to study the following subjects:

* The car maintenance and ownership standards can be completed by Year 11 students.

How does it work?

Tertiary Link courses are mostly theoretical but may include some practical work. They will give you an idea of what it’s like to study at tertiary level – and may help you decide whether a certain career path is right for you.

Who can apply?

Tertiary Link courses are available to senior students – either full-time students or young adults enrolled in three or more subjects.

Each subject has different criteria so read the information sheets above to see whether you are eligible to apply. If you are interested in enrolling, have a chat with your learning advisor to see whether they think a Tertiary Link course would suit you.

If accepted, your fees will be covered by Te Kura.

Learn more

Each subject has a different contact person. See our subject information sheets above to find out who to talk to.


To be able to learn so much more about bees in such depth made me feel very lucky. I loved the whole course. The detail provided in the work books made it very easy to follow and I’ve learnt so much through Telford – I’m very grateful. I’m dyslexic so it takes me longer but because I enjoyed it so much it was easy to follow and I’m sad it’s come to an end. Chris Berentson bends over backwards to help, he is just a phone call away and always positive, full of praise and filled me with confidence. The other teachers involved at Telford are also are very nice and helpful.

Rupert, Apiculture (beekeeping)

I love the fact that you can actually get a certificate for equine studies as your only other option are pony club certificates which you have to have your own horse for. It’s a really nice course and I have learnt lots from it.

India, Equine

At Te Kura, students learn about their career options and develop the skills they will need to manage their future careers.

You will work closely with your learning advisor to explore career options that interest you. Te Kura also offers a range of learning opportunities, including STAR, Gateway, Tertiary Link, Trades Academy and Pathways Education. These can help you learn more about potential careers and relevant employment or training that is available. A Careers portal is under development through My Plan (Korowai).

If you would like to talk further about your career and study options, please call your learning advisor on 0800 65 99 88.

Careers video library

Our video library provides an in-depth look at a variety of careers in New Zealand.

The library contains 120 episodes from TVNZ’s Just the Job series. Each video identifies the personal strengths and qualities required in each industry, as well as the subjects and NCEA credits needed for entry.

The library profiles a variety of jobs, from aquaculture, building and engineering to hair dressing and joinery.

Click to view videos

More information

For more information on careers and study advice, please call your learning advisor on 0800 65 99 88.

You can also contact the Pathways Education curriculum leader, on 0800 65 99 88 ext 8939.

Careers New Zealand is an excellent source of information about work and training in New Zealand. You can also call them free on 0800 222 733.

NZQA provides information on NCEA credits and has some helpful resources.

StudyLink helps you with the finance and support to help complete your study.