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Evaluating the electrotechnology gateway
Key findings

To encourage secondary students into electrical tertiary programmes, the Skills Organisation developed electrotechnology unit standards for students. This study showed that those that completed these standards were more likely to go onto ITO training. In addition, the likelihood of choosing Skills Org over another ITO increased for students that took the unit standards. The number of students taking these unit standards has been decreasing over the years, yet, with these results, it may be worth encouraging more students to participate in these unit standards.

Introduction

The Skills Organisation developed electrotechnology unit standards for secondary schools with the aim of attracting students into their electrical tertiary programmes. Students that completed these standards were compared to those that did not to assess the effectiveness of the standards in directing students towards further ITO training. This provides useful insight when determining whether to encourage higher participation in these unit standards by secondary students.

How many students are taking electrotechnology standards?

The chart below shows the number of school leavers each year who have completed an electrotechnology standard developed by the Skills organisation. Since 2009, the percentage of school leavers who completed an electrotechnology standard has decreased from just over 2% to below 1%. The number of females taking these standards has been extremely small at about a tenth of a percent.

Methodology

School leaver data is sourced from Ministry of Education data in the IDI. Foreign fee-paying students and exchange students have been excluded. Students are tagged as having completed an electrotechnology standard if they have ever completed one during their time at school. Those who do not achieve a standard are not included. The percentage of school leavers who completed an electrotechnology standard includes those who completed Level 2 or Level 3 standards.

How many gateway alumni go on to ITO training?

Many students who complete gateway electrotechnology standards go on to some form of ITO training. Three years after completing their last electrotechnology standard, over 20% of alumni have either completed their training or are currently enrolled with an ITO. Ten years after their last standard, about 30% of them have completed ITO training.

Methodology

The gateway alumni included here refer to anyone who successfully completed an electrotechnology standard at school since 2002. Each year after completing their last electrotechnology standard, they are classified as currently in ITO training, completed ITO training, ITO training incomplete or no ITO training. This training is with any ITO.

ITO training completion is defined as being recorded as successfully completing and/or receiving a qualification. Incomplete training is defined as having no completion recorded, and either an end date recorded in a previous year or the last start date being recorded over three years ago with no end date.

Effect on Skills Org enrolment

Students were broken up into whether they completed the Skills Org unit standards at secondary school or not. The data is filtered by gender since men are both more likely to choose trade ITOs and to take the unit standards, therefore, a comparison using both genders would be misleading.

Taking the Skills Org unit standard increases the likelihood of a male enrolling with Skills Org by roughly three times. Whereas, for Competenz, the likelihood of a male enrolling increases by 1.7 times when taking the Skills Org unit standards. BCITO enrolments saw a slight increase for male students that took BCATS. There is little evidence for females due to the small proportion of female students taking these standards.

Methodology

School leaver data is sourced from Ministry of Education data in the IDI. Foreign fee-paying students and exchange students have been excluded. The first ITO that a school leaver enrols with after leaving is used for classification. Both school leaver and ITO data are for the years 2009 to 2016 inclusive.

Controlling for other factors

The results above fail to demonstrate other possible reasons individuals may choose Skills Org. It is unclear as to whether gateway unit standards are:

  • Attractive to students that would have gone on to study with Skills Org anyway
  • Encouraging students to go to Skills Org that would have otherwise trained with an alternative ITO
  • Encouraging students to go to Skills Org that would have otherwise pursued alternative career options that do not involve ITO training

A regression analysis was conducted to control for the characteristics of each student that were suspected to also have an impact on their ITO decision. In the following table, the effect that each factor has on the likelihood of choosing Skills Org over other another ITO is represented for various factors.

Even after controlling for these factors, it appears that the electrotechnology gateway standards have a significant effect in encouraging students into training and careers in the electrotechnology sector.

Factor Effect on choosing Skills vs other ITOs
Completing a Level 2 electrotechnology standard 2.8x as likely
Gender Men 3x as likely
Father in electrotechnology sector 2x as likely
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Evaluating BCATS

Analyse the effectiveness of BCATS in guiding students towards trades training

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Evaluating the electrotechnology gateway

Analyse the effectiveness of electrotechnology unit standards in guiding students toward training

workforce supply Secondary to workforce Gender Trades Talent attraction Secondary to tertiary Women in trades