by Lauren Morley, Year 12 Student Kaipara College
For a young person today, it feels as if there are millions of careers just waiting to be explored. But in a world with an endless and ever-expanding number of job opportunities, it feels almost impossible to know which path may be the one for you. Many secondary schools around New Zealand partake in the Tertiary Education Commission’s Gateway Programme. This is a programme that is designed to give senior secondary school students the chance to experience a workspace in a professional capacity, learn new skills,
and make connections with people. This year, Kaipara College had 52 students across Years 12 and 13 complete a ‘Gateway placement’ of their choice. I was fortunate enough to be one of those students.
At Kaipara College, we have a diverse student body, with people coming from many different areas and backgrounds. This meant that we had a vast array of career paths explored, from things such as beauty, fashion, drama, architecture, and earlychildhood care to engineering, marine biology, physiotherapy, farming, and piloting. Before entering any workplace, all 52 students had to complete courses in first aid as well as workplace health and safety. Both of these gave students important skills which were not only used throughout their placements, but also in everyday life.
My personal experience with the Gateway programme was something that I will forever be grateful for. Through connections of my own, I was able to spend six days working at Jasmax – a well-established architecture firm in Parnell. Every Thursday, instead of heading to school on the bus, I hopped on the train and spent my 40-minute journey reading my book or keeping up with the school work I would be missing out on that day. Once I reached Parnell, it was just a short walk from the train station to the office, which I would reach at around 9:30 am. For the next eight hours, my day was filled with nothing but paint colours, carpet samples, floor plans and building designs – all of which brought me much joy. I spent my lunchtimes in the staff room and attended several talks with the other members of the office. I enjoyed learning new skills and meeting new people in a space where I was not treated as a student, but instead as a colleague.
The Gateway programme is fully funded for all students who take part.
This means that students who may typically miss out on school outings and experiences are still able to put themselves out there and learn new skills, meet new people and develop the confidence they need in their chosen career to enter the workforce or tertiary education after high school.