Leaving to Learn

« Senior Secondary

As part of Te Kura’s Big Picture learning approach, Years 11 to 13 full-time and young adult ākonga (students) can experience courses at tertiary institutions or in a work environment in their area of career interest. This helps ākonga build knowledge, understanding and skills for their chosen field while working towards a relevant qualification.

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

Ākonga who are dual enrolled with Te Kura should arrange secondary-tertiary opportunities with their home school. 

Recognition of New Zealand Driver Licences

Te Kura ākonga are able to claim recognition for gaining the various levels of the New Zealand Driver Licence. NCEA credits may be claimed by downloading this form, filling it in and emailing it, along with a photograph of the licence, to: driverslicence@tekura.school.nz

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 student's work placement. Each Gateway Learning Plan will offer at least 20 credits.

How does it work?

You will attend, on a regular and ongoing basis, 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 workplace 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, talk to your kaimanaaki (learning advisor) then email the Youth Transitions team.

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 kaimanaaki (learning advisor) then email the Youth Transitions team.


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 learner's 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 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. 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.

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, please email the Secondary Tertiary Advisor for your region (see below).

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, please let us know.

Te Tai Tokerau
Tamaki Makaurau
Te Kahui Rāwhiti
Te Kahui Hauāuru
Central South
Distance courses

STAR-funded camps

Te Kura offers residential camps for full-time Te Kura students.

This year our North Island camp at the Hillary Outdoor Education Centre, Tongariro will be held from 26 to 31 May 2024. 

Activities on camp include ropes courses, climbing wall, flying fox, caving, navigation, mountain walking, canoeing, rock climbing and abseiling. The aim of this camp is to provide challenge and learning through outdoor experiences to ākonga who have not previously had these opportunities.

Applications for 2024 have now closed. 

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 to 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 the Secondary Tertiary Advisor for your region. Find your local contact for STAR courses below, or discuss your interest with your kaimanaaki (learning advisor).

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.

These 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 or young adult ākonga with Te Kura, 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:

  • Adventure Works – Auckland
  • Ara Institute of Canterbury – Ashburton, Christchurch, Oamaru, Timaru
  • Avon City Ford – Christchurch
  • Design School – Palmerston North and Whangarei
  • Dive Zone Tauranga
  • Eastern Institute of Technology – Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti
  • Employ NZ Tauranga
  • Enviroskills – Northland, Te Kahui Rāwhiti, Te Kahui Hauaūru, Central South
  • ETCO
  • International Travel College – Auckland and Whangarei
  • Land-Based Trade Academy (National Trades Academy) – Christchurch
  • Manukau Institute of Technology Trades Academy – Auckland
  • NorthTec – Whangarei
  • NZMA Wellington and Auckland
  • Otago Secondary-Tertiary College (Otago Polytechnic) – Cromwell and Dunedin
  • Papa Taiao Earthcare
  • Primary ITO
  • Queenstown Resort College – Paihia, Kaikohe and Whakatane
  • Techtorium – Auckland
  • Top of the South Trades Academy (NMIT) – Marlborough and Nelson
  • Toi Ohomai – Bay of Plenty
  • Unitec – Auckland
  • U-Skills (UCOL) – Masterton, Palmerston North and Wanganui
  • Vision College – Christchurch
  • Waikato Trades Academy (Wintec) – Hamilton, Pukekohe and Thames
  • Wellington Trades Academy (Weltec/Whitirea)
  • West Coast Trades Academy (Tai Poutini) – Greymouth and Westport
  • Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT)
  • Whenua Iti Outdoors

We are continually looking for new partners and opportunities for our ākonga. If you are interested in a programme or provider not listed here, please email huarahi@tekura.school.nz.

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 commitment over a one-to-two year period, although some ākonga 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 kaimanaaki (learning advisor) then email Kathryn Smith or call 0800 65 99 88 ext 8552. You can also email huarahi@tekura.school.nz.


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)

If you have an idea about the kind of career you would like, but you can’t get to a face-to-face course, you might try Tertiary Link. Tertiary Link is distance learning through one of our provider partners. The subjects we offer are: 

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?

If you are interested in enrolling, have a chat with your kaimanaaki (learning advisor) to see whether they think a Tertiary Link course would suit you. Once your kaimanaaki has agreed, please look at our subject information sheets above to find out who to talk to next. If your application is accepted, the cost will be covered by Te Kura.


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 workbooks 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. The Secondary Tertiary Adviser 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 options 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

The Student Volunteer Army (SVA) is a movement committed to volunteering. It believes in the power of volunteers and has created this program as a way to better recognise student volunteers in Aotearoa. Te Kura has registered with SVA to celebrate student success and contributions to the community.

Volunteering is doing something to help others in your community, such as caring for members of your own whānau, helping out at sports events, helping out at animal shelters such as the SPCA, picking up rubbish at the local beach/waterway – something that you are not getting paid for.

How does it work?

Register your profile on the SVA website.

Log every piece of volunteering you do while you are with Te Kura. The website keeps a record of it and rewards you for your hours along the way with some very cool ‘Service Pins’. Volunteering includes everything you’ve done anywhere and anytime - home, school and community service will all be counted together. You get your first pin after five hours of service - SVA will notify Te Kura and we will award it to you.

You can download your summary of volunteer work anytime and use it for job applications, apprenticeships, further education, scholarships, or to pin on your wall at home!

Congratulations if you are undertaking or considering any volunteer work.

If you have any questions, please contact your kaimanaaki (learning advisor).