Gateway FAQs

What are the benefits of Gateway?

Gateway provides an option for schools to broaden educational options for students and strengthen pathways to employment, vocational training and further education. Students can receive credits towards qualifications on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, including NCEA, and gain experience in future career pathways through work placements, which will assist them in their vocational choices.

Applying for funding

How does a school receive Gateway funding?

Schools need to apply for Gateway funding from the TEC. TEC allocates funding to participating schools each year based on the number of students placed and average credit achievement. For more information on how the funding is allocated to schools and calculated, see:  

Which schools and students can access Gateway funding?

Gateway funding is available to students at state schools and state integrated schools. From 2016, students at Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua will also be eligible for the Gateway programme.

To be eligible to enrol in a Gateway programme, a student must be:

  • a domestic, senior school student (Year 11 or above)

capable of undertaking a structured work placement, and attaining credit achievement in the workplace.

Guidelines for Gateway programmes

What are the guidelines for Gateway programmes?

Gateway programmes must:

  • lead to credits that contribute to the award of a National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA) and/or qualification on the NZQF
  • allow senior school students to participate in structured workplace learning, including the assessment and recognition of that learning in the form of credits, and
  • integrate workplace learning with a student's wider course of study. 

Can schools continue to use Gateway funds for student learning at a range of levels?

Yes, there is no requirement that states Gateway programmes have credits from a particular level. Credits could be earned from a range of levels ie Level 1-4. However, it is expected Gateway will support NCEA Level 2 achievement, if Gateway participants are yet to achieve this. 

Is there a credit requirement for Gateway programmes?

Yes. From 2015, it is an expectation that schools should have credit achievement that averages 20 credits per student that participates in their Gateway programme. This is an average across all Gateway students at the school. It is not a minimum per-student requirement, schools will have flexibility to meet individual student needs, which means some of the schools’ students may not achieve 20 credits.

The credit requirement relates to the students, not each work placement. Therefore, there is no requirement for each work placement to have a set number of credits. Schools and employers can work out what is most appropriate for each work placement.  

Information on credit achievement will continue to inform TEC funding allocation decisions, in addition to other student outcomes, performance and funding requirements.  

Refer to the ‘Credit achievement’ section of the Gateway handbook on the TEC website:

Why has the credit requirement for Gateway been changed?

In 2014, on average, Gateway students were already achieving 19 credits, so most schools should experience little impact from this change. The previous credit requirements were a minimum of 10 credits. This was increased, to reflect current school practice, and to increase the credits gained from work placements to support students to gain qualifications, including NCEA Level 2 with a Vocational Pathways Award.

Can the credits achieved by students who work with employers outside of school hours count towards Gateway?

Yes. All credits achieved during work placements with employers can be counted towards Gateway; it doesn’t matter that they were earned as part of a work placement in weekends, after school or in the school holidays.  

Can credits achieved during subject study at secondary school, including through Trades Academies, be counted towards Gateway?

No. When reporting results, schools must ensure that only credits achieved based on their Gateway placement are included. Achievement standard credits or unit standard credits achieved as part of normal secondary schooling are not to be included. Credits that can be attributed to Gateway should support the student’s Gateway learning plan, such as health and safety unit standards that support a student’s plumbing placement, or media studies achievement standards based on a student’s placement at a local newspaper. 

Credits achieved on courses delivered by TEOs can be reported for Gateway only if they meet the criteria described in the Courses section of the Gateway Handbook. Please see the Gateway Handbook for more details.

Alignment to the Vocational Pathways

How do Gateway programmes need to align to the Vocational Pathways?

Where possible, credits making up Gateway programmes should be aligned to a Vocational Pathway, but this is not a requirement. Gateway fund settings only promote and encourage alignment. Credits can still count towards Gateway even if they are not part of a Vocational Pathway. This responds to concerns raised during the consultation process, that schools wanted to maintain flexibility to be able to provide some credits that may be outside the Vocational Pathways, including at higher levels, as part of Gateway programmes.  

Credits within a Gateway programme that do align to the Vocational Pathways could relate to more than one Vocational Pathway. Some work placements and industries could cover more than one Vocational Pathway.  

As Gateway programmes are vocationally focused, and Gateway is workplace-based, it would be expected that these programmes mainly deliver credits that are recommended by industries on the Vocational Pathways.  

Generic units are often valued or even required by employers but because they are generic do not appear on a specific Vocational Pathway. Any of these units that fit a student’s particular learning plan, and can be assessed in the workplace, can be included in their Gateway programme.

The aim of Gateway funding is to support students to undertake industry learning. The refined Vocational Pathways have increased the number of Unit Standards available, which means there are more to choose from for Gateway purposes.

To see which standards belong in which pathways, use the assessment standards spreadsheets on our resources page.

In addition, you can use Level 3 Unit Standards by showing what Vocational Pathways they are aligned to.  The relevant Industry Training Organisation (ITO) may be able to help you with this. 

You can also talk with your Secondary Tertiary Lead about regional collaboration of industry/ business that is being developed to support Gateway experience and delivery. To find the Secondary-Tertiary Lead in your region, go to:  

What impact will the changes to the Vocational Pathways have on Gateway programmes in 2016?

All Vocational Pathways have increased the number of Sector-Related standards, apart from the Creative industries Vocational Pathways, so there are now more to choose from.

Most generic standards have been removed, but not all of them. The Sector Consortia Groups looked at the standards that could fall into the generic/employability/work readiness areas and considered whether they specifically related to their Vocational Pathways. If they did specifically relate to the Vocational Pathways they were included, if not they were removed from the Vocational Pathways.

All assessments are still on the framework, so can still be used to develop programmes, however some may not go towards gaining a Vocational Pathways Award.  

The Ministry are working with ITF, NZQA and Business NZ to look into ways in which employability and work readiness can be recognised and supported. 

For more specific detail please use the assessment standards spreadsheets on our resources page.

For further information and advice

How can Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) help with developing Gateway programmes?

Some ITOs are developing Gateway programmes aligned to the Vocational Pathways, so it is a good idea to talk to them. They may also help you determine which Level 3 unit standards have been mapped to various qualifications within the Vocational Pathways.

For a list of ITOs and their contact details, please go to

How can we incorporate Gateway programmes into our timetable?

It is up to schools to work out what arrangements are best for their students, who participate in Gateway. Some schools block out a day in the timetables for Gateway programmes, but other timetabling arrangements can be undertaken as well. It may depend on what arrangements work with the employer the work placement is with. The most important factor is that students can participate in Gateway and still participate in their other school-based study choices. 

Your Secondary-Tertiary Lead can help you explore various options. Click here to find the Secondary-Tertiary Lead in your region:

How can our school get support and advice for Gateway programmes? 

The TEC administers Gateway, and is responsible for funding.  Schools should contact the TEC Sector Helpdesk on 0800 601 301. Helpdesk staff can answer the majority of queries directly, but where necessary queries are escalated to an Investment Team and schools will be contacted directly by an advisor who can assist them.

The regional Secondary Tertiary Leads in the Youth Guarantee team can also assist with advice on Gateway programmes. Click here to find the Secondary-Tertiary Lead in your region:

How can I report more than one employer for a Gateway student during the year?

Through the enrolments reporting system, submitted through Workspace 2, schools report details to TEC per placement – for example a school may have the same student entered more than once, but the employer details would be different in each row, reflecting the separate placements. For more information on reporting through Workspace 2 go to:

Where can I access more information?

For more information on Gateway, please refer to TEC’s website: 

The Gateway Handbook can be found at: