From learning to earning

Achieve NCEA levels 1, 2 and 3 and develop a path that progresses you to further study, training and employment.

Vocational Pathways help students see how their learning is valued in the real world by aligning standards that can be achieved through NCEA with six industries. Vocational Pathways was developed to ensure students gain a better understanding of how their NCEA studies applies to the world of work, and the qualifications and skills required by industry.

Together with their NCEA level 2, students can achieve a Vocational Pathways Award. This signals that students have achieved NCEA level 2 standards that align with the knowledge and skills that employers are looking for in the six industries. We have mapped level 3 assessment standards that contribute to University Entrance (UE) to Vocational Pathways, meaning students can use the Pathways to choose UE subjects.

The six Vocational Pathways industries

The six Vocational Pathways industries

Creative Industries

Ahumahi Auaha

If you’re the creative type there’s a tonne of opportunities in this industry, from working in visual and performing arts to roles in communications and events. People in this industry are cultural ambassadors for the country, they tell our stories and help shape the future.

creative sml
“I am motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others. I love making something from nothing.”
Primary Industries

Ahumahi Matua

If you like spending time in nature and looking after living things then this could be the industry pathway for you. Whether on the land or in an office, there are a huge range of jobs and a variety of experiences on offer, as well as the opportunity to work in some of the most stunning landscapes in the world.


Primary v5
“What I enjoy about my current situation is the independence I have and the ability to make decisions.”
Service Industries

Ahumahi Ratonga

If you’re a people person then this could be the pathway for you. This diverse industry makes up a huge percentage of New Zealand’s workforce. Experience in the services industry can take you around the world as well as giving you transferable skills to help you progress into great careers. 

service industries v8
“I love being in a team environment and having customers leave with a smile.”
Social and community services

Ratonga Pāpori, Ratonga Hapori

This is an essential industry for the well-being and safety of our citizens and roles here can be really rewarding. If you want the work you do to matter deeply then this could be the pathway for you. This is an ever-growing sector with demand for workers increasing, and the skills you gain in these roles can help you progress in a wide variety of careers.

“I'm making a difference for future New Zealanders.”

NCEA Assessment standards

For the social and community services industry pathway

Construction and Infrastructure

Te Mahi Hanga me te Pūtoi Hanganga

If you enjoy teamwork, a varied workday and learning by doing then this could be the pathway for you. Work in this incredibly important industry is varied, rewarding and often physically active. You can take pride in playing your part to build, repair and maintain New Zealand from below the ground up.

construction tall
“I love putting things together and creating. All I ever wanted to do was be involved in building. I get a great mix of onsite activity, being with people and desk work."

NCEA Assessment standards

For the construction and infrastructure industry pathway

Manufacturing and Technology

Te Whakanao me te Hangarau

If you have an interest in making things work, are inquisitive and able to think outside the box then this may be the pathway for you. It covers a whole range of working styles from hands-on assembly to cutting-edge research, busy production lines to crafts and computer design. These jobs offer opportunities to make new discoveries and a practical difference to the world.

engineer v4
“When I was young I used to help my Dad out at our family business, repairing small engines for lawnmowers, chainsaws – that sort of thing. I knew I wanted to work in a hands-on job.”

NCEA Assessment standards

For the manufacturing and technology industry pathway