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Whanaungatanga: Building Connections at ATC

Do you want real skills and real results for real life? Whether you’re looking for a fresh start, or a clear path to the military, here are 5 reasons to enrol in NZSE’s School of ATC.
#1 Non traditional education Traditional education doesn’t work for everyone. Daryl Parkin, Head of School at ATC, understands this reality which is why and his team of experienced tutors focus on providing options that work.

“Some people need an alternative to traditional education,” Daryl says. ATC is designed to bridge this gap, providing foundational pathways from Level 1 to 3 and NCEA Level 2. “Whether students aim to enter the workforce directly or pursue higher education, ATC offers the flexibility to cater to diverse needs and goals.” With its military-style training and short programmes based at NZSE’s Auckland and Hamilton campuses, ATC programmes challenge students both mentally and physically.
#2 Structured and Supportive Environment ATC combines the structure of secondary education with the freedoms of a tertiary environment. For example, each day of Study Career Preparation – Uniformed Services (Level 3) starts with drills and a clear plan, followed by three classroom sessions and ending with a physical training (PT) session.

“At ATC, you’re getting an education, but it’s not in the traditional sense,” Daryl explains. This routine fosters discipline, collaboration, and a sense of community, helping students to stay focused and motivated.
#3 Diverse Career Pathways One of the standout features of ATC is its versatility. ATC programmes prepare students for various industries, including the armed forces, specialist services (such as police), security, sports and recreation, and health. For example, while gaining literacy and numeracy credits, students enrolled in Vocational Pathways in Social and Community Service Sector (Level 2), engage in activities that require teamwork, preparing for what would be required in military and defence.

“We offer pathways into the uniformed services, but not all students want to go into the military. We also provide pathways in sport and recreation, security – even IT and hospitality,” Daryl says. This broad spectrum of options ensures that each student can find a path that aligns with their interests and career goals.

#4 Hands-On Learning ATC’s learning approach is highly interactive and hands-on. In small classroom settings and through short courses, students engage in collaborative work, developing practical skills that are directly applicable to their future careers. “We create a solid foundation where students can interact, build confidence, and develop life skills,” says Daryl. Tutors are dedicated to student success, offering personalised support and fostering an empowering environment based on ATC’s values: loyalty, respect, commitment, integrity and courage.

#5 Life Skills Development Beyond academics, ATC focuses on essential life skills such as leadership, problem-solving, and time management. This holistic approach helps students build the confidence and discipline needed to excel in any field.

“We see lives changing through ATC. Students build confidence daily, as they develop communication skills; they learn how to manage themselves and their behaviours,” Parkin observes. The structured environment at ATC equips students with the tools they need to navigate life’s challenges and achieve their full potential. “They take the skills they’ve learned, and can apply them throughout their life.”

For families and potential students, the message is clear: enroling in ATC at NZSE is a step toward a brighter future. With care and support, diverse career pathways, interactive learning, and a strong emphasis on life skills, ATC offers an unparalleled opportunity for learners to thrive and succeed.

We extend our values of whanaungatanga and manaakitanga along with a sense of kaitiakitanga – guardianship – to our students", says Daryl. "With the right support and environment, students can achieve their full potential."

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