Following last week’s announcements of the major reforms to the vocational education system, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has launched The Prime Minister’s Vocational Excellence Awards.

The awards were launched this week at Hutt Valley High School

“For too long trades and on-the-job skills training has played second fiddle in how we see success at school and later career choices,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Going to university will always be a great way to further your career but vocational careers are equally as important, particularly given the huge skills shortages that exist across many industry sectors.

“This award celebrates achievement in vocational education in secondary schools and wharekura. It will, I hope, send a strong message about the value this government places on vocational education and encourage new generations of students and their families to recognise the exciting opportunities it presents.

“Secondary schools and wharekura can apply for a prize of $2000 to be awarded to their top vocational student. Funding is available for every secondary school in the country.

“We’re encouraging secondary schools to apply as soon as they can and include this award in their prize-givings for 2019.

Ardern says New Zealand needs more apprentices and people training for industry jobs.

“We want students, with the help of whānau and teachers, to be planning their learning more strategically – to create clear pathways for themselves through school and on to further study, training or jobs in the workplace.”

Education Minister Chris Hipkins echoed this, saying the changes will deliver more opportunities to improve people’s skills, no matter where they are in their education or career.

“We’re also making significant changes to the NCEA to create strong pathways towards the trades and other vocational careers, and are well-underway with a redesign of the careers system to provide much better support in schools, much earlier in the lives of students,” says Hipkins.

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