If you don't meet a programme’s entry requirements or you’d like to build some foundational study skills, we have a range of level 3 and 4 qualifications to do just this. These programmes prepare you for further tertiary study or the workplace, to ensure you succeed.
What is a pathway programme?
Pathway and study preparation programmes are designed to help you if you don’t meet the entry requirements for a course you want to study. You will learn beginner skills and gain credits you’ll need to apply for the qualification you want to study.
Plus, some of these courses can also train you with work-ready skills for entry-level roles.
Which course is right for you?
Our pathway programmes of study range from level 2 to level 4. Choosing the right programme will depend on your personal career goal and what NZQA credits you’ve already achieved, for example from secondary school. Understand more about NZQA qualification levels.
Level 2 foundation skills to re-engage with study or gain work-ready skills
A certificate at level 2 will qualify you with introductory knowledge and skills that can be applied to a range of work or study fields. You’ll learn operational skills, problem-solving techniques and literacy and numeracy basics - all in a supportive and supervised environment that introduces self-directed learning and collaboration.
Our New Zealand Certificate in Foundation Skills (Level 2) and Certificate in Land Skills (Level 2) are two qualifications that are a great place to start, to earn your NCEA level-2 certification. Both programmes are taught from our Dunedin campus and range from 9 - 17 weeks.
Level 3 and 4 - to learn both work and tertiary study skills in a specific field
Certificates at level 3 and 4 start to focus your learning in a specific field, to prepare you for future work or further tertiary study. As well as operational knowledge being taught, theory is always introduced, so you learn both what and why. The higher the level, expect more self-management of your own learning and performance, as well as more field specialisation.
We have Level 3 and Level 4 certificates across a range of focused fields, including beauty, health, engineering and business. As well as a more generalised New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 3) with a focus on Study or Work - to improve your academic study skills and employability skills such as CV and interview preparation.
Youth pathways - if you're still in high school or under 20 years old
We recognise that the learning environment at school doesn’t suit everyone. If you’ve already left or are thinking of leaving school and are under 20 years of age, you can study any of our courses funded by the Youth Guarantee Fees Scheme. You’ll learn applied skills, gain NZOA credits and get a taste of work and tertiary study.
If you’re currently in high school and want to get into a particular trade, you can gain practical skills and NZQA credits while you’re at school, via our Otago Secondary Tertiary College (OSTC). OSTC has a campus in Dunedin and one in Cromwell. We have a range of OSTC programmes offered at both our Dunedin and Cromwell campuses.
Breakfast at Sunrise
Wakey, wakey eggs and bakey…come join us for a free breakfast and an amazing sunrise.Read more
Dunedin Schools Game Jam
We're organising the 2nd annual Otago Polytechnic High Schools Game Jam from 22nd to 24th July. You will enjoy a unique experience of developing or designing a game over the weekend.Read more
Rachel Dibble wins Ako Award
Otago Polytechnic Lecturer Rachel Dibble has won a Te Whatu Kairangi –Ako Aotearoa Tertiary Educator Award for 2022.Read more
Hākari (Feast) - Telling Our Story
A collaborative food event between the Food Design institute, the School of Art and the School of Communication Design.Read more
Central Campus to hold Giant Plant Sale
A huge array of locally grown plants will be on sale at Otago Polytechnic’s annual Giant Plant Sale, to be held at its Central Otago Campus this Labour Weekend.Read more
Otago Polytechnic claims three medals in Best Design Awards
Congrats to Vincent Egan, Georgia Pope and Emily MacKenzie for winning medals in the Best Design Awards 2022.Read more
Otago Polytechnic helps community group with innovative recycling solution
Otago Polytechnic has worked with a Dunedin community group to come up with an innovative solution to recycling milk bottle tops.Read more
More than 300 to attend Otago Polytechnic "catch-up" graduation
More than 300 graduands will attend Otago Polytechnic’s Graduation ceremony at the Dunedin Town Hall on Thursday, 22 September.Read more
Otago Polytechnic wins at 2022 Diversity Awards NZ
Otago Polytechnic’s ongoing efforts to be an inclusive workplace and organisation have been recognised at a national level.Read more
Otago Polytechnic resumes hosting Japanese learners
Otago Polytechnic is excited to welcome back students from Japan’s International College of Technology this week.Read more
Otago Polytechnic has multiple finalists in Best Design Award
Eight Otago Polytechnic projects have been named in the finals of the Designers Institute of New Zealand Best Design Awards.Read more
A magnificent flying machine
Tears, cheers and applause greeted the inaugural flight of an Otago Polytechnic student-built plane this week.Read more
Celebrating secondary students’ artistic talents
The Celebrate Art Secondary Schools Art Awards 2022 have attracted a range of exciting and accomplished works.Read more
A passion for the environment
It’s a passion borne of a childhood spent among the wild waves and woods near Maidens, Ayrshire, a small village in which his family was one of the few not involved in fishing.Read more
Careers in Health Information Evening
Learn about our healthcare programmes, what you need to do to apply to study in 2022, and speak to our qualified staff, healthcare practitioners and industry professionals about your healthcare career aspirations.Read more
Design students upcycle for charity
A group of resourceful Otago Polytechnic Design students have been rummaging through op-shop shelves as part of an upcycling project for charity.Read more
Finalist in Diversity Works NZ Awards
Otago Polytechnic Ltd has been named as a finalist in the Ngā Āhuatanga o Te Tiriti category of the 2022 Diversity Awards NZ.Read more
Electrical student through to final of Apprentice Challenge
An Otago Polytechnic electrical student has won the Dunedin round of the Master Electricians Apprentice Challenge.Read more
Otago Polytechnic to fly Māori flag
Otago Polytechnic has chosen to fly the Tino Rangatiratanga flag alongside the New Zealand one.Read more
Mural celebrates Māori connections
A mural celebrating Māori connections with the land aims to uphold the mana of tauira, making them feel more included in the physical space of Otago Polytechnic’s Dunedin campus.Read more
Design learners to fore in international competition
Nine students from Otago Polytechnic’s School of Design participated in the Humber University (Toronto) round of Map the System, an Oxford University-based global system thinking competition that aims to stimulate new ways of thinking about social and environmental change.Read more
Get Ahead – Careers Information Evening
Discover how you can start your journey/haereka now to gain the knowledge/mātauraka and skills you need to set you up for a successful 2023 and beyond.Read more
Nursing students' working bee helps Fijian women
An industrious group of Otago Polytechnic year-3 Bachelor of Nursing tauira have swapped vaccination needles for sewing needles to help women from a Fijian village.Read more
Tertiary Open Day
Your chance to explore our campus and see first-hand the fantastic range of study options available at Otago Polytechnic.Read more
Chief Executive to help judge Otago Sports Awards
Joining Dr Gibbons on the judging panel for the Otago Polytechnic-sponsored awards are Sport Otago chief executive John Brimble, Otago Daily Times sports editor Hayden Meikle, radio producer Rowena Duncum and former long-serving Sport Otago manager Michael Smith.Read more
"Crossroads; Childish Adult Stuff" installed in Quad
The latest sculptural installation in Otago Polytechnic’s Four Plinths Project dabbles in the past while pondering the future.Read more
Ceramic works tackle theme of student wellbeing
Dunedin School of art graduate Aaron Obbeek has created ceramic sculptures for four meeting rooms in the Hub.Read more
Carpentry apprentices show off skills
Eager apprentices put their carpentry skills to the test at the New Zealand Certified Builders ITM Apprentice Challenge at the weekend.Read more
No matter your background, you can start here
Many of our students have experienced a transformational journey through our Foundation Studies course. Watch and listen as they share their inspirational stories.
Understand NZQA levels and qualifications
The NZQA has ten levels of qualifications, each based on complexity. Find out what they are.
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.