Better Public Services Result 5- Case Study: Tayla getting to where she wants to go
Primary Industries Trades Academy (PITA), Taratahi
Tayla is in year 12 at Wairarapa College and wants to study agricultural science at university. Tayla grew up on a beef and sheep farm outside Masterton and wants to take the knowledge she picked in her youth and make it her career.
Last year, Tayla successfully applied to the Primary Industries Trades Academy (PITA) at Taratahi Agricultural College as part of her studies in the Primary Industries Vocational Pathway. This meant that one day a week she went onsite to Taratahi to learn the theory of farming and went on a work experience placement to a farm where she had to roll up her sleeves and learn on the job.
Tayla is now in her second year of the programme and through her work on the farm is learning about building relationships, how to succeed in a team and is being treated like any other farm worker - like an adult. Tayla is learning real life skills.
PITA at Taratahi allows Year 11 and 12 students to come onto campus one day a week and learn on the job. Because Taratahi operates as a farming business, students really feel like they are contributing as if in the work place. At the same time, their efforts and learning contribute to gaining NCEA Level 2 without them buckling under the pressures of the classroom which often leads some students to drop out altogether. Attendance at the PITA is structured to minimise disruption to normal secondary school activities and to maximise tertiary and work placement opportunities.
Tayla’s interest is beef and lamb and she says that she is not afraid of handling big cattle nor does she shy away from the tough jobs like fencing. Tayla knows that she has to prove she can do the basics if she wants to further her career with tertiary study and specialise.
“I like that the programme is practical” says Tayla, “and I like that I can learn outside the classroom.’
Tayla is getting a solid foundation at Taratahi and it is raising her confidence. This encourages Tayla to persue agricultural education at a higher level.
“This is about practical application and combining qualifications with skills. We encourage our students to see their destination as employment and we inspire them to achieve this. It’s as much about having the right attitude as well as aptitude. Farms become their classrooms and every placement becomes the opportunity for a future job or study,” says Dr Donovan Wearing, CEO at Taratahi.
Arthur Graves, Group Manager Youth Guarantee at the Ministry of Education oversees the Vocational Pathways. He says, “New Zealand has to improve the rate of NCEA Level 2 achievement, the minimum qualification a young person needs to get to be ready for a better future. To get employment you need to get a solid education, achieving at least a minimum qualification, or more.
According to Arthur, “New Zealand has poor retention rates of 15-19 year olds remaining in education to get qualifications and skills that will benefit them and not enough young people progressing to Level 4 or above on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.”
“Learning in a Trades Academy gives students real life skills and qualifications and using the Vocational Pathways young people can choose their study options and see how it relates to future job or career options. Students can get relevant qualifications and a Vocational Pathway which will set them up for their next steps, whether it’s into tertiary study, industry training or employment.”
Tayla has two younger brothers and two younger sisters and she knows she is setting an example to them that if you work hard and focus on a certain career path you can get to where you want to go.
More than 4,200 senior secondary schools students from 264 schools are currently enrolled at a Trades Academy this year in 22 Secondary-Tertiary Programmes throughout New Zealand. For initial outcomes from these programmes, see the ‘Youth Guarantee Monitoring Report: Impact of Trades Academies & Youth Guarantee Fees-Free Provision on Student Performance’ to see the effect on outcomes for students http://youthguarantee.net.nz/assets/assets/Youth-Guarantee-Monitoring-Report-one-page-for-YG-staff.pdf
The Ministry of Education is holding regional workshops on the Youth Guarantee focused on raising achievement, retention and transitions of young people across secondary schools and tertiary providers. The workshops will discuss initiatives to raise student achievement and develop relevant learning opportunities for students; connecting school, tertiary and future employment. For dates and registrations visit www.youthguarantee.net.nz/home-/workshop-calendar/