Prepared by Eileen P. Harrity, August 2013
with funding from the sponsors of the Ian Axford (New Zealand) Fellowships in Public Policy
Eileen Harrity is the former Director of School Authorization at Chicago Public Schools, where she worked in a variety of roles before coming to New Zealand. As Director of School Authorization in the Office of New Schools and Programs, she identified and approved new school models aimed at improving college and career readiness for Chicago students. Prior to that, she managed a portfolio of strategic projects including aligning teacher professional development with district priorities, creating a market-driven model for school operational services, and procuring student assessments.
Prior to joining Chicago Public Schools, Eileen worked for Deloitte Consulting where she specialised in large-scale transformations for public sector clients and on the use of public private partnerships to improve government services. She has also worked as a policy analyst at the state and federal levels in the United States and at the national level in the United Kingdom. She is a graduate of Harvard University (AB), Columbia University (MPA), and the London School of Economics (MPA).
During Eileen’s Ian Axford Fellowship exchange to New Zealand she was based at the Ministry of Education, where she researched the use of vocational pathways and business-to-education partnerships to ease student transitions into careers and further study.
The New Zealand Government has made “Boosting Skills and Employment” one of its five Better Public Service Targets, including the specific goal of increasing the number of students achieving a Level 2 National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). New Zealand’s Vocational Pathways are designed to encourage more students to achieve that qualification by highlighting for students how the courses that make up their secondary school programmes relate to future study and career options in five industry sectors.
The report discusses the impact of Vocational Pathways on students and communities. More specifically, the Pathways make it easier for students to understand the relevance of their studies and also provide students with more tools to personalise their learning. In addition, the Pathways create a common language for educators, communities, students, and employers to use when discussing secondary education.
The report also discusses the implementation of the Vocational Pathways, focusing on the manner in which they were developed and what the Ministry of Education is doing to move the Pathways forward. The use of partnerships between policymakers, educators, and industry leaders has been key to the success of the Pathways, but also presents some challenges, which are discussed in the report.
Appendix 1: National Certificates of Educational Achievement
Appendix 2: Vocational Pathways Industries
Appendix 3: Youth Guarantee
Appendix 4: Youth Guarantee Network Memorandum of Understanding Template
Appendix 5: Industry Training Organizations
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