What progress has been made on implementing the Youth Guarantee?
Heaps—heaps! We have done a number of things, including extending the number of wider Youth Guarantee places to 4,000, well beyond what was announced in the last Budget. Recently I announced the next step in the Youth Guarantee, which is to develop vocational pathways, which will allow students who are at risk of dropping out of the school system clear career and learning options. Those vocational pathways will cover five broad industry sectors: manufacturing and technology, construction and infrastructure, primary industries, social and community services, and service industries. Schools, tertiary providers, and trades academies will be able to offer those pathways from next year, providing clear ways to further tertiary education, apprenticeship, and work for young people.
The support has been very positive. The Industry Training Federation has said: “By developing a broad range of vocational pathways, young people will not be pigeon-holed into a future job, but gain skills that usefully lead to a career in particular industries. It is a brilliant use of the NCEA that does not require major change to the system, but redefines how that system can be used more successfully.” Business New Zealand has said: “It is essential that the business community, tertiary providers and schools work together to define these pathways to achieve the most productive results.” Delegates at the recent Secondary Principals’ Association of New Zealand conference were also very responsive.