Youth Pathways for High School Students

If you’re at secondary school and want to learn some practical, hands-on skills that will help you get a job, you can learn at our Otago Secondary Tertiary College (OSTC). We offer practical, career-focused learning for students in Years 11-13 who want to get a head start on life after school.

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What is Otago Secondary Tertiary College?

We recognise that the learning environment at school doesn’t suit everyone and sometimes a blend of high-school and applied learning is a great option to keep students engaged in education. Our youth pathways, via our Otago Secondary Tertiary College (OSTC), offer high school students a chance to learn applied skills, keep earning NZQA credits and get a taste of work and tertiary study.

We have a range of OSTC programmes offered at both our Dunedin and Cromwell campuses. The Otago Secondary Tertiary College (OSTC) delivers level 2 and 3 courses in some of the key trades in New Zealand. This vocational pathway is to ensure that you are building the right foundations skills and knowledge for the field you want to work in the future. You have to be a high school student to be eligible to study through OSTC.

How does this fit with high school study?

You’ll spend one or two days a week at OSTC and the rest of the week at school as usual. The best part - you will gain NCEA credits while gaining real-world, practical experience in the industry of your choice. This will help you get on the right career path after you finish school.

In most cases, study at OSTC is funded by the government, which means, you can test out a career without spending too much money.


In most instances, study at OSTC will be fully funded, with no cost to you or secondary school. However, please note that OSTC is only funded for a limited number of places. Additional places may be offered, however your school will be charged a fee. Please clarify any costs with your school. Please contact for more information.

Entry requirements

  • you must be a Year 11-13 secondary school student attending a high school anywhere in Otago
  • you must be motivated
  • you need to be keen to pursue a career pathway related to the programme
  • your school must support your application
  • ideally you should have achieved NCEA Level 1 including English and Maths or be working towards it (however exceptions may be made in some circumstances)
  • at this stage, you don’t need to be fully-vaccinated or present a My Vaccine Pass to attend Otago Secondary-Tertiary College learning on the Otago Polytechnic campus.

How to apply

Talk to your school’s careers advisor and they will guide you through the application process. You can download application forms for either Dunedin or Cromwell delivered programmes below.

OSTC programmes by industry

Construction & Infrastructure
Manufacturing & Technology
Social & Community Services

Need some advice?

If you’re not sure what to study and would like some guidance, we’re here to help. Feel free to chat to us directly about any questions you may have.