Students will get the best of both worlds in an educational first for West Auckland.
Pathways West launches today, giving students the chance to take part in health courses specifically designed to prepare them for the industry.
The initiative between Unitec, Waitemata District Health Board and the New Zealand Careers College gives teenagers the opportunity to earn NCEA level 2 credits in a tertiary environment and in the workplace, while also learning at school.
Participants will spend every Friday over two semesters outside of school either studying at Unitec or completing practical workshops at Waitakere Hospital's Awhina campus.
Unitec's manager of partnerships and community engagement Merryn Statham says Pathways West was developed after discovering where future employment opportunities and areas of economic growth were likely in the West Auckland area.
"This is one way students won't come out of school with a mixed bag of level 2 credits which can be confusing for employers," she says.
"This network will help demonstrate other ways to achieve their future employment aspirations."
Three subjects will be taught - psychology, health in the community and health and practice.
West Auckland schools including Green Bay High School, St Dominic's Catholic College and Waitakere College are taking part.
Waitakere College student Ethan Birch, 16, says he gets good marks in health and it's one of his favourite subjects at school.
"I don't know what I want to be when I grow up but I enjoy health so this is a good way for me to see.
"I like helping people and this is going to be a great guide to see what interests me," he says.
Waitakere College's head of vocational pathways Karen Carter says the programme will provide students with opportunities that can't be provided in the school environment.
"There's an awful lot of occupations that students don't know exist and most of them only go to the hospital for a birth or an ill family member.
"This will help them to be able to make more informed decisions."
The targeted group of students are those who wouldn't go straight to university after secondary school, she says.
"We get to facilitate and nurture them but all the responsibility is on them to attend the classes."
- Western Leader
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