New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 3) with a focus on Study or Work

Start here if you want to improve your study skills and prepare for higher-level learning or employment.

About the programme

Whatever your background, gain the skills you need to move into a higher level qualification in your chosen area.  

This programme offers you the chance to improve your study skills and prepare for higher-level learning or employment.

It includes either a general study context or a work context (which includes practical workshops and community volunteering opportunities). All learners (from both contexts) will undertake the two compulsory courses first: Career and Study Skills, and Communication Skills.

Those choosing the general study context will then do the numerical skills and career practice courses. Those choosing the work context will do the work placement preparation and work placement action courses.

You will study in a highly supportive and encouraging learning environment. Class sizes are small and our teachers are very approachable. Along with improving your reading, writing, presenting, and computer skills, you will also gain valuable employability skills such as CV and interview preparation, and how to write a cover letter.

We also offer this programme in the following contexts for those not wishing to undertake the general study or work contexts: Beauty TherapyHealth, and Engineering.

Studying part-time 

We know full-time study isn't always possible. We also offer part-time study options for this programme - talk to us about what will suit you best!

16-24 years old?

If you are aged 16-24 and feel that school didn’t work out for you, you may be able to study this programme via our Youth Guarantee Scheme and pay no fees. This also applies if you are going to be 15 years old at the time that this programme starts and you have an early exemption from school. See more info in the Fees section below.



Course title Credits Teacher directed hours Student managed hours Work experience hours
Compulsory (for all learners)        

Career and Study Skills

  • Develop plans and evaluate opportunities for study and career pathways
  • Learn how to manage and think about your learning progress
  • Participate in group discussions/contribute to a team
  • Learn how to reflect on your role as a team member
15 80 70 0

Communication Skills

  • Communicate in a variety of styles 
  • Learn how to write for a range of specified purposes
  • Discover how to present information using a range of methods suitable for your audience
15 80 70 0
Elective Pathways (30 credits - choose one pathway)         
General Study Context        

Numerical Skills

  • Gain essential numeracy skills that are required for everyday life, learning, or work
  • Learn how to use essential numeracy skills in industry or study-related context
15 80 70 0

Career Practices

  • Progress further with your chosen study or career pathway
  • Think about the skills and attributes needed for your chosen pathway
  • Apply career development information to your chosen pathway
15 65 70 15
Work Context        

Work Placement (Preparation)

  • Learn about what is required to progress into your chosen career pathway
  • Discover how to communicate the specific skills necessary for engaging in your chosen career pathway
  • Through an authentic work experience setting, gain an understanding of how to act personally and professionally 
15 35 70 45

Work Placement (Action)

  • By engaging in authentic work experience opportunities, learn about the required practical skills and knowledge 
  • Learn how to apply job-specific skills and responsibilities within an authentic work experience
  • Analyse and reflect on your authentic work experience
15 35 70 45


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative only. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.