New Zealand Certificate in Foundation Skills (Level 2)


Dunedin Campus

17 weeks full-time; part-time options

Blended learning; a mix of online learning and face-to-face teaching

February and July
Until start date
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    22 February 2021
  • Dunedin
    26 July 2021
  • Mosgiel
    22 February 2021
  • Mosgiel
    26 July 2021
  • Dunedin
    22 February 2021
  • Dunedin
    19 July 2021

Get a taste of what tertiary learning is all about and gain essential skills for work!

Whatever your background, you can start somewhere. This foundation level programme is a great option if you want to re-engage with study and gain confidence and skills to enter the workforce. 

You will undertake community work, volunteering and/or practical trade learning at Otago Polytechnic. This will enable you to gain industry experience and knowledge in your chosen career pathway and ideally to apply the essential skills that you will have learned earlier in the programme.

Entry requirements
  • Open entry.
  • As part of our application process, you will be required to attend an informal chat with one of our careers team in Student Success. This is to ensure that you are enrolling into the best pathway for you and to inform you of the range of support services available to you through Otago Polytechnic
  • If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of English language proficiency.  
What you will study

During your first week, you will take part in a range of orientation activities. You will then study two core compulsory courses during term one (8 weeks) and then two compulsory courses during term two (8 weeks). 

Course name



Compulsory (term one)



Essential Skills (Tuapapa)



Self (Rapu Ora)



Compulsory (term two):



Project (Rapu Mahi)



Active Learning (Rapu Pukengataka 1)






Course descriptions  

Essential Skills (Tuapapa)

Develop a range of communication and interpersonal skills 

  • Demonstrate communication skills relevant to your community, workplace or educational setting
  • Demonstrate interpersonal skills to participate effectively in diverse environments
  • Use essential skills to solve a range of specified problems

Self (Rapu Ora)

Increase awareness of self and others to identify potential educational and/or employment opportunities

  • Demonstrate an awareness of culture and cultural diversity in self and others
  • Develop personal wellbeing to contribute positively to the community, workplace and/or educational setting
  • Set goals for future focus using an awareness of self

Project (Rapu Mahi)*

Explore identified goals for participation in employment

  • Gain the research skills needed to investigate employment opportunities
  • Evaluate and reflect on the skills you have learned to help think about your future career goals

Active Learning 1 (Rapu Pukengataka 1)*

Progress towards employment goals

  • Apply awareness of self and others within work and life
  • Apply essential skills in a familiar context
  • Interact effectively with a variety of people

*work placements 

Youth Guarantee Scheme information

If you are a 16-19 year old and feel that school didn’t work out for you, you may be able to study this programme via our Youth Guarantee Scheme and pay no fees. This also applies if you are going to be 15 years old at the time that this programme starts and you have an early exemption from school.

To be eligible for Youth Guarantee funding, you must:

  • Be a domestic student between 16-19 years old
  • OR be 15 years of age at the time when you commence the programme AND have an early leaving exemption from your school
  • Not already hold a Level 3 qualification in any subject
  • Have been thinking about leaving school and getting a job OR prefer to be working towards a career rather than staying at school OR have left school and are not sure how to enter higher education or employment
  • Want to learn practical skills
  • Be more motivated in a non-school setting and be prepared to enrol in a full-time programme.

Fees and allowances

The Youth Guarantee Scheme will cover tuition fees, material and equipment costs of your programme of study. 18-19 year olds enrolled in fees-free Youth Guarantee qualifications will now be able to access the course-related costs part of the student loan and student allowances if they meet the eligibility criteria. Those under 18 years old will not be able to access any part of the student loans. Funding for travel is available, conditions apply. Please visit the Studylink website for full details. We strongly recommend that you read this carefully prior to applying for this programme.

The process

  • There is not a separate Youth Guarantee application form. Please apply for this programme by using our standard Otago Polytechnic online application form. To apply, click the light blue apply button at the top right hand corner of this page.
  • If you meet the criteria for Youth Guarantee funding you will be offered the funding if it is available. We will ask you to let us know within two weeks if you do not wish to take up the funding.  
  • If there is no Youth Guarantee funding available, we will send you a letter advising you of this. Along with this letter, you will receive an invoice, terms and conditions, a Studylink brochure and an equipment list advising what you will need to purchase before starting your programme.  
Student loans and allowances

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw from your programme application or if it is unsuccessful.

For more information

For more information or to discuss your study pathway, please contact


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

Apply Now