Practical education courses lead to further education and employment

Posted on 2017-05-22 by CM

Sarah believes the often negative perception of practical education courses at secondary school needs to change, and says she is proof they can lead to further education as well as employment. Sarah, 18, is in her first year of a three year oral health degree at Auckland University and, when qualified, wants to work in dental therapy for children. The former Sacred Heart Girls’ College student entered the school’s Gateway programme at PORSE Education and Training Ltd in year 13 with the plan of gaining the National Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care (level 3) and heading to London to work as a nanny. “I loved school – English, photography, and media studies – but didn’t really know what I was going to do afterwards. I wanted to work with children so decided to do a course at PORSE in year 13 and have the qualification so I could work as a nanny and in early childhood education,” Sarah says.

With other students in the programme having started in year 12, a determined and focused Sarah had to play catch-up and completed all 18 PORSE units in one year. The programme also involved workplace placements, with Sarah spending one day a week at Butterfly Preschool in New Plymouth, gaining an understanding of what the career entailed. “I loved it but I couldn’t see myself doing it as a fulltime job. I stuck with it and finished it and I still wanted to work with children, but my plans changed. I decided to go to university, and the certificate and units I have done have helped towards my study now.”

Sarah says if it hadn’t been for the Gateway programme and the opportunity to get a taste of the career she had in mind, she wouldn’t have been able to make an informed decision about her future. “A lot of people go to university from school and have no idea or plans about what they are going to do, but it helped me a lot to make a decision about my future. There was a bit of a perception among the girls at school that doing the likes of Pathway was for the students who weren’t ‘bright’ and were ‘drop outs’, but there were a few of us who took it really seriously and made the most of the opportunity,” she says. “I’m really pleased I did.”

Taranaki Futures acknowledges and supports the achievements of young people in our region. Our vision is Strong Employment, Strong People, Stronger Communities.