Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says for too long trades and apprenticeships have taken a backseat when it comes to how we see success at school and later career choices. The PM visited Hutt Valley High School today where she announced the Prime Ministers Vocational Excellence Awards.
The visit follows last week's announcement of proposed reforms to the vocational educational system.
Ardern is sending a strong message about the value this government places on vocational education.
"[I] encourage students to take up opportunities to move into the trades because we have such huge need in New Zealand. One of my favorite subjects was metal work."
Some Hutt Valley High School students say their sights are set on overseas, but they are also keeping their options open.
Student Nanaia Himona says, "I have big aspirations on being an English teacher overseas."
Another student Tinorawe Hawkins says, "At this age you should come up with a relative idea of what you want to do but I think as life goes on your feelings change, your thoughts change."
Ardern says, "What our education system can't necessarily prepare you for is the confidence that we instill in ourselves."
Having the right attitude was the advice from Education Minister Chris Hipkins to the students.
"Confidence and resilience and attitude ... ultimately failure is an integral part of the learning process and people aren't always going to succeed."