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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Making pathways that count for secondary students.

Diane Christensen, Colleen Brown.

The New Zealand secondary system allows schools to have educational relationships with other providers be they private organisations or state-funded institutes. For ten years the Manukau Institute of Technology Communication Enterprise section has worked with secondary schools providing teachers of senior students with a range of Communication unit standards which students can then use as transferable credits in either a workplace or a tertiary setting. The relationship is many-fold. The secondary teachers get access to current teaching material for their students, which is reviewed yearly. All assessments are moderated by the institute, so that schools receive consistency in marking across the entire student population using the unit standards. Teachers are able to access lecturers for support through telephone, fax and email. The same lecturers at the institute are working alongside industry employees often teaching the same unit standards as required by the Industry Training Organisations. Therefore a wealth of current industry expertise and information is made available to schools for students. In New Zealand, Industry Training Organisations determine which unit standards on the New Zealand Qualification Framework will be used by various industry sectors, therefore it is important that students use their time and studies at school wisely, accumulating credits that will be useful after they leave school. The Communication Enterprise staff work alongside schools advising them of the particular units best suited to their students. At present 25 unit standards are offered to schools at three levels means that students can start working on their communication from Year 11 (age 15-16) through to when they leave school at Year 13. The role of the institute is as a facilitator, advisor and link between the compulsory and tertiary sectors and industry. One of the critical factors in the success of the relationship has been for the Enterprise team to link government developments for the compulsory sector and to offer a range of appropriate tertiary learning packages to schools. This paper examines the evolution of the secondary-tertiary relationship and details how the Enterprise team has been able to manage developments in the educational sector to enable students to maximise their learning whilst at school.


Diane Christensen  (New Zealand)
Senior Lecturer Communication Enterprise
Communication Enterprise in the School of Communication Studies
Manukau Institute of Technology

Diane Christensen, a former secondary teacher, is now senior lecturer and has been working with schools and industry since securing tenure at Manukau 7 years ago. The NZ Polytechinic sector recognized the innovative work of Diane and colleague, Colleen Brown, with the NZPPC Innovation Award in 1997 and both lecturers were awarded a Distinguished Teachers Award by the Institute in 2002.

At present Diane works with some of the key industries in the Auckland area ranging from NZ Steel, Air New Zealand, and NZ Navy, over 2,500 secondary students, 50 schools and 70 teachers .

Colleen Brown  (New Zealand)
Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader Communication Enterprise
Communication Enterprise in the School of Communication Studies
Manukau Institute of Technology

As programme Leader of the Communication Enterprise section, I liaise with a number of other academic and marketing sections within the Institute. All our work is done with external clients both in the secondary school sector and the industrial and manufacturing sectors. I train people in many of the major companies in the region- Air NewZealand, New Zealand Steel, Montana Wines, the Navy, and Industry Training Organisations. My specialist ares are in negotiation skills, report writing, conflict management,advocacy and the different working styles presented in the workplace.I have presented papers nationally and internationally.

  • Secondary students
  • New Zealand Qualifications Framework
  • Industry Training Organisations
  • Learning pathways
  • Communication
  • Tertiary sector
  • Vocational institute
  • New Zealand

(30 min Conference Paper, English)