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Another 940 in Trades Academies from 2016


More young people will have the opportunity to combine study and practical experience with 940 additional places in Trades Academies, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce and Education Minister Hekia Parata announced today.

A funding transfer from the Youth Guarantee Fees-Free programme will add a further 600 places to Trades Academies commencing in 2016. This is on top of the additional 340 places already announced in this year’s Budget.

“This will take the total number of Trades Academy places to 6,190 a year, which is great news for these young people as well as employers,” Mr Joyce says.

“Trades Academies have been successful in supporting young people to stay engaged in education and achieve NCEA Level 2. They are motivated to move into further study or employment.

“Last year, an estimated 1,200 18 year olds had achieved NCEA Level 2 through Trades Academies and the wider Youth Guarantee programme when they otherwise wouldn’t have.”

Ms Parata says a report by the Education Review Office showed Trades Academies are delivering “overwhelmingly positive outcomes” for students.

“Kids who were at risk of dropping out are staying engaged in education, building  self-esteem, developing problem-solving and time management skills and gaining qualifications.

“Trades Academies not only lift student achievement, they help students into further education or careers in industries such as building and construction or the primary industries,” Ms Parata says.

The extra funding of $21 million over 2016-2019 for Trades Academies comes from reducing the number of places in the Youth Guarantee Fees-Free programme from 9,900 to around 9,500 per year from 2017, after demand in that programme has softened as more students achieve NCEA Level 2.

“In effect, the funding switch has been enabled by a rise in student achievement,” says Ms Parata.

The extra Trades Academy places will be prioritised to areas where there are more young people at risk of not achieving NCEA Level 2 and would benefit from having the additional learning choices offered by Trades Academies, such as Northland, South Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Gisborne. 


  • Trades Academies are part of the Ministry of Education’s Youth Guarantee programme, which includes Vocational Pathways, Youth Guarantee Partnerships, STAR and Gateway, Achievement Retention Transitions, and Youth Guarantee fees-free places.
  • Trades Academies support secondary school students to gain NCEA Level 2 with practical learning opportunities relevant to vocational careers that are aligned to one of the Vocational Pathways for the six main New Zealand industry sectors. They involve learning within school and tertiary settings.
  • In 2015, there are currently 5,250 places at 23 Trades Academies, providing opportunities for students from more than 300 schools.
  • The 6,190 Trades Academy places from 2016 is an 18% increase from 2015, and a ten-fold increase over five years, from around 600 places in 2011, when Trades Academies were first established.
  • Provisional 2014 results indicate that, 85% of 18 year olds, who had participated in Trades Academies achieved at least NCEA Level 2, compared to 77% for a comparison group of 18 year olds, who had not participated in Trades Academies.
  • Youth Guarantee fees-free places provide young people aged 16-19 years, who have left secondary school without foundation education qualifications, access to fees-free tertiary places at Level 1-3 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, including NCEA Level 2.
  • In 2016, the availability of Youth Guarantee fees-free places will be on-par with 2015, which had 9,900 places available. From 2017 the number of Youth Guarantee fees-free places will reduce slightly, to around 9,500 places, in line with the decline in demand from young people.  
  • Both of these programmes have proved to be successful in supporting young people to achieve NCEA Level 2 and the BPS Result 5 target (85 per cent of 18 year olds with NCEA Level 2 or equivalent in 2017). In 2014, an estimated 1,200 young people attained NCEA Level 2 by age 18 who would not otherwise have done so without participating in either Trades Academies or Youth Guarantee fees-free places. This represents 2 per cent of 18-year olds in 2014. Increasing the achievement of Māori and Pasifika young people and young people within regions such as, Northland, East Coast, Bay of Plenty, Waikato and some parts of Auckland, are a key part of working towards the BPS Result 5 target.
  • The recent Education Review Office report on Trades Academies found they had delivered “overwhelmingly positive outcomes” for students. The report, released in July found they had improved the motivation, attendance, self-esteem and achievement rates of students who were at risk of disengaging from the system. It also found that students participating in academies were becoming more resilient and learning to manage their time and solve problems.
  • The Ministry of Education will allocate the additional places to reflect the regional needs of students for the learning choices offered by Trades Academies, especially to students at-risk of not achieving NCEA Level 2. This involves working through a process with the lead providers of Trades Academies and participating schools to arrive at the allocations. The final 2016 allocation decisions to lead providers will be made as soon as practicable to assist schools and students plan their learning options for 2016.

Steven Joyce, Hekia Parata

OCTOBER, 2015 2012