Waikato Trades Academy student in the workshop at Wintec
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The Waikato Trades Academy (WTA) is funded by the New Zealand Government to provide secondary students the opportunity to study at both school and Wintec. WTA gives students a head start; gaining specific and practical experience and skills in an industry based setting, and the opportunity to move directly into a job or apprenticeship, or further study, on completion of secondary school.

As a WTA student, you take the Wintec programme of your choice alongside your school subjects, and travel to Wintec for practical, hands on learning, typically one day a week, plus a block course. While you're at Wintec you will be studying towards an award in a vocational pathway on your NCEA Level 2 or 3 qualifications.

Transport to Wintec is coordinated by the WTA and your school. The cost of transport over and above your usual transport to school is funded by the Ministry of Education. WTA programmes are fee free; there will be no extra cost to you for your course or for transport.

WTA is a two year programme, with options in the following areas: Service Sector, Social and Community, Manufacturing and Technology, and Construction and Infrastructure.

The benefits of both worlds

  • Fee-free tertiary education
  • Head start on a trades career; possibility of going straight into a job/ apprenticeship
  • Help deciding what you want to do after school
  • Unit standard credits from the trades qualification count towards NCEA, including Vocational Pathway credits towards a Vocational Pathway Award
  • More likely to achieve NCEA at higher levels when studying a qualification of interest
  • Trade study helps to develop core skills in English, Math and Science
  • Programmes offered are coordinated to make best use of both secondary and tertiary expertise and resources
  • Secondary school support, friendships, networks and activities are maintained. You can keep doing the sport or after school activities you love, and attend the school ball!
  • Full access to Wintec's support services including student mentors, counselling, Student Learning Services, and Te Kete Kōnae
  • Individual learning plans for each student cover attendance, workplace skills and life skills i.e. problem solving, self-management, team building, time management, personal presentation and self esteem
  • Make friends with students from other secondary schools with similar interests to you

How WTA works


Year 11 or 12

You can start studying at the WTA. You will choose one of the available Vocational Pathways from our Vocational Pathways wheel.

In year one we will provide you with a broad introduction to your chosen Vocational Pathway. You will attend Wintec between 28 and 34 days during the year. While studying at the WTA you can achieve 25 - 37 credits towards NCEA Level 2.


Year 12 or 13

You will continue your secondary school studies and your second year of WTA.

You will specialise in one career pathway. You will attend Wintec between 30 and 34 days during the year. You will study at Level 2 or 3 and gain between 26 and 34 credits towards your chosen career pathway. This year will include some self-directed learning. Some programmes may include work experience in industry.


Graduating from WTA

After completing the two year WTA programme you may: 

  • Achieve NCEA Level 2 or 3 at school, with a Vocational Pathway Award.
  • Follow previous WTA students into higher level study at Wintec, or have the skills to move into an apprenticeship or employment.