As at 20 April, 2020- the government announced that New Zealand will move out of Alert Level 4, 11.59pm on Monday 27th April and move into Alert Level 3 on Tuesday 28th April to read more about this and to get information on the Tertiary student support package click here. New Zealand remains at Alert Level 4 - the maximum level. NZSE Campuses remain closed. We are currently delivering programmes online. Please stay home, except for getting essential supplies or exercise until authorities say it is OK to come out of the lockdown. For course information get in contact with your tutor/s and for additional information keep an eye on our COVID-19 page and read emails that come from the School to you directly. Follow all advice given through official channels and - The New Zealand Government.  Stay well. Stay safe and be kind to one another. We also have a Frequently Asked Questions page for students here.
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Military and
Vocational Prep

Get in touch
Travel allowance and training uniforms
Free for 16-19 year olds
(Youth Guarantee criteria applies)
Structure and discipline,
physical fitness, academic support
Military and Vocational Prep uses military-style training, teaching, techniques and activities to prepare you for pathways into the workforce, possible careers in the New Zealand Defence Force, New Zealand Police or other related services. It can also help you get the credits needed to advance into further study or university. Don't let anything stand in the way of a great future. ATC – Aspiration. Teamwork. Confidence.

Explore our programmes


Our campuses are located in:
New Lynn
3033 Great North Road,
New Lynn, Auckland
5A Ryan Place,
Manukau, Auckland
848/850 Victoria Street,

ATC History

Focused on empowering our mātātahi with discipline, knowledge and the soft skills to succeed the programme builds students confidence and allows them to become career-successful role models within their communities.

Our programmes provide an exciting, safe and supportive learning environment and are designed to provide students with recognised qualifications and clear pathways to the New Zealand Defence Forces, Police and other services, along with other sectors of employment, or higher level study. Each year new students flourish in the atmosphere of a military-styled education system, achieving academic,physical, and vocational heights they never thought possible.

In 2020, ATC (formerly Advance Training Centres) merged with NZSE (New Zealand School of Education) this transition has allowed NZSE to bring systems and processes into sync, increase pathway opportunities for students, and give ATC students access to greater student services.

ATC was established in 1991 in Kaikohe, Northland to deliver free military-oriented programmes for youth between 16-19 years old. The programme was so successful and so widely regarded by the community that it expanded by opening campuses in Auckland and the Waikato.

Get involved and challenge yourself

At NZSE Military and Vocational Prep you'll get the chance to be involved in all sorts of activities and challenges like the annual Touch Tournament and Terminator Challenge. You can also check your marksmanship at the shooting range, take on obstacle and confidence courses and perform military drills and haka challenges.
Take the first step
Download one of our Study Guides or get in touch with one of our team members at NZSE.
Download Study GuideGet in touch

Supporting our students every step of the way

Our Student Support team are dedicated to making your time at NZSE Military and Vocational Prep as rewarding as possible. They run workshops, provide study support and can help you find somewhere to live. They are there to help you achieve your goals and help you build a successful future. Your guidance and support is key to your success, so they'll meet with you regularly and ensure you have scheduled one-on-ones with your tutors as well. Academic and personal mentoring from staff can include literacy and academic skills as well as financial, budgeting and personal development advice.

Our team can help you with:

  • Advice and guidance
  • Emotional support
  • Whanau support
  • Attendance
  • Learning and literacy/numeracy support
  • Community services contacts
Contact Military Prep Support Staff

Hear from our students

Kayla Haddon didn’t really enjoy school. The learning part was OK, but she was a socially awkward teenager. So it was nice to make some friends, even if they were the wrong ones. When they started sneaking off for a smoke, she joined them – and that’s when the trouble started.

Haddon had already been kicked out of one school and soon found herself in trouble at another. The 18 year old was raised partly by her grandmother in Auckland, but her mother lived in Hamilton. “I just finished my Year 11 and moved out from my nana’s, so I didn’t have that constant drive to go to school.
“Once I left [school], I was bored, I so needed to get into something else and be more productive with my days.”

Vanessa Wainohu joined ATC Military Prep School in 2017. She says she joined because she wanted to become a rifleman in the NZ army.

“It’s inspiring to join up because I know there aren’t many other girls in that division, and I want to break that stereotype. I was a high school dropout when I came to ATC and it was just such a massive change. The whole atmosphere and support kept me going, kept me on track.”

Joe Macdonald began NZSE’s Vocational Pathways Social & Community Services (Level 2) programme in 2017. He had an ambition to get into the New Zealand Army and needed NZSE’s help in getting there.

“I am now in the New Zealand Army, training to become a ‘Truckie’. NZSE's Military and Vocational Prep has really helped me because it made me a competitive applicant when I applied. I already knew the basics: I knew the ranks, some drill and I was reasonably fit.

Joe says the learning style at NZSE is very self-motivated. “And you are always motivated by your peers. I became the 2IC in my squad, so that meant I got to help my peers and helped them to pass assessments. That always made my day.” “One piece of advice I have for people thinking about studying at NZSE is that it’s all about the end goal! It may seem long, but think about the light at the end of the tunnel and your goals. My goal was to get into the army and here I am now.”

Our four pillars

Our philosophy is founded on; Nga Pou e Wha – our Four Pillars:
1. Punctuality and being ever-present.
2. Academic study and achievement.
3. Military preparedness and a personal sense of self.
4. Your code of conduct.

Our courses are designed to help you gain your NCEA qualifications, develop your confidence and get you fit while developing pathways with you that can lead to successful careers in the services (NZ Defence Force / Police etc) or employment.


NZSE's Military and Vocational Prep is proud to support our communities. We schedule community service projects into the delivery of our programmes. This provides opportunities for our students to show leadership and contribute to the beautification of their local community.

If you think you have a community service project that we can incorporate into our learning programme, please get in touch with us on 0508 282 282.

Frequently asked questions

What is Military and Vocational Prep?

ATC Military and Vocational Prep is a training organisation that uses military-style teaching, techniques and activities to prepare young people for pathways into the workforce, possible careers in the NZ Defence Force, Police or other related services, or helps them gain the credits needed to advance towards university studies.

Where is NZSE Military and Vocational Prep located?

We have campuses based in West Auckland, South Auckland and Hamilton.

How old do you have to be to join NZSE Military and Vocational Prep?

You need to be aged between 16-19 years old although you can still enrol if you’re turning 20 years old soon

How much does NZSE Military and Vocational Prep cost?

The course is FREE for 16-19 year olds. The Government’s Youth Guarantee criteria applies so call now [0800 99 88 11] and  speak to one of Course Advisors to get more information and secure yourself a spot in the programme.

Will Military and Vocational Prep help me pathway into the NZ Police, NZ Army, NZDF or other related services?

Our programmes and tutors will help you pathway into the NZ Police, NZ Army, NZDF or other related services. If you successfully complete our Vocational Pathway Military Level 2 programme and gain NCEA Level 2, you will be eligible to apply for these services and will be accepted upon meeting their entry requirements. You can find the entry requirements for NZ Defence Careers here and NZ Police here.

Is ATC Military and Vocational Prep part of NZSE now?

Yes. ATC and New Zealand School of Education (NZSE) have always been connected – the 2 organisations officially merged in 2020 to increase pathway opportunities, and student services for ATC Military Prep students and simplify reporting to TEC (Tertiary Education Commission).

Is Military and Vocational Prep for boys only?

No. ATC is for both boys and girls.

How can I enrol or get more information?

You can enrol through our website: or email us at or call 0800 99 88 11 or TXT INFO to 9090 or even hook up with us on Facebook Messenger

Training tips

The physical component of our NZSE Military and Vocational Prep programmes can be intensive and grueling. Here are some training tips that can help you maximise your time here at NZSE by keeping healthy and fit, and looking after your body

Healthy sleeping

It is important to get a full 8 hours of sleep every day. Here are some tips to create and maintain a healthy sleep habit:

  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during holidays.
  • Set a bedtime that is early enough for you to get at least 8 hours of sleep.
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Make your bedroom quiet and relaxing. Keep the room at a comfortable, cool temperature.
  • Limit exposure to bright light in the evenings.
  • Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Don’t eat a large meal before bedtime. If you are hungry at night, eat a light, healthy snack.
  • Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
  • Avoid consuming caffeine in the late afternoon or evening.
  • Reduce your fluid intake before bedtime.


What you put into your body is your body’s fuel. Here are some simple tips to help you consistently eat healthy:

  1. Eat breakfast every day
    This will increase metabolism, energy levels and help avoid snacks between meals. Pick something ‘grainy’ and add protein, for example porridge or Weetbix with fruit and milk. OR Wholegrain toast and eggs/baked beans/banana, peanut butter.
  2. Eat regular meals
    At least three each day to help manage hunger and extra snacking. Include some starchy carbohydrate (bread/rice/potato), protein (meat/fish/egg/beans/dairy) with veges and fruit.
  3. Plan your lunch
    It’s cheaper to take your own homemade lunch and avoids making rushed decisions and being tempted by less healthy options.
  4. Snack smarter
    If you’re not hungry between meals, you don’t need snacks. If you do feel peckish, reach for a piece of fruit or small handful of nuts (30g), a cup of soup or, low fat milk/yoghurt, vegetable sticks or grainy crackers with hummus/cottage cheese.

  5. Be mindful
    Take your time and notice what you eat. Eating fast, on the run and while distracted can lead you to eat more food than you realise, or need. Did you know: it takes 30 minutes for your stomach to tell the brain that it’s full.
  6. Water is always best
    It’s free from the tap, healthy, good for the environment and good for you. You need 6 to 8 cups of fluid each day, some of these can be from food, coffee, tea, milk as well as from water.
  7. Fill up on vegetables and fruit
    For extra fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are also low in energy (calories), are packed with goodness and help prevent heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure, and some cancers:


Stretching is the deliberate lengthening of muscles in order to increase muscle flexibility and joint range of motion. Stretching before and after exercising and training is very important for your body’s wellbeing as it decreases the risk of injury as well as muscle soreness. Here are some tips to proper stretching techniques:

  1. Warm up first
    Stretching muscles when they’re cold increases your risk of pulled muscles. Warm up by walking while gently pumping your arms, or do a favourite exercise at low intensity for five minutes.
  2. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds
    It takes time to lengthen tissues safely. Hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds — and up to 60 seconds for a really tight muscle or problem area.
  3. Don’t bounce
    Bouncing as you stretch can cause small tears in the muscle, which leave scar tissue as the muscle heals. The scar tissue tightens the muscle even further, making you even less flexible — and more prone to pain.
  4. Focus on a pain-free stretch
    If you feel pain as you stretch, you’ve gone too far. Back off to the point where you don’t feel any pain, then hold the stretch.
  5. Relax and breathe freely
    Don’t hold your breath while you’re stretching.
  6. Stretch both sides
    Make sure your joint range of motion is as equal as possible on each side of your body.
  7. Stretch before and after activity.
    Light stretching after your warm-up followed by a more thorough stretching regimen after your workout is your best bet.

Injury solutions

If you find yourself sore or injured from a day of PT at NZSE Military and Vocational Prep, the best mode of recovery is RICE.
RICE is an acronym that stands for REST, ICE, COMPRESSION, ELEVATION.

  • Rest
    As soon as an injury occurs, it is important to stop what you’re doing and have a break. Pushing through the pain will only cause additional damage over the long-term.
  • Ice
    Ice should be applied immediately following an injury and during the recovery process. Ice reduces pain and swelling and can slow bleeding (if applicable). Ice should be applied directly to skin (wrapped in a towel etc) for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day the first few days following an injury.
  • Compression
    Compression reduces swelling.
  • Elevation
    Compression reduces swellElevation takes advantage of gravity. Keeping the injured area above the heart can reduce swelling by allowing extra fluid to drain. When sitting down or icing the injured area, you should elevate the injured area on pillows.


If you want to stay healthy and performing at your highest level throughout your time at NZSE and beyond, corrective exercises need to be prioritised in your training.In order to remain healthy and injury-free, it’s very important to help prepare your body with some prehab exercises before training. Using an effective and efficient program that targets your weakest points will minimize the likelihood of injury, and even limit the severity of injuries if and when they do occur.Everyone will get their usual aches and pains along the way to training hard, but the real goal is to avoid the big injuries that will keep you from training for prolonged periods of time.


Rehabilitation is about reducing pain or regaining function after an injury, illness, or surgery. Rehabilitation exercises are an important part of overall recovery, and they help restore strength, range of motion, and endurance. The overall goal of rehab exercises is to restore someone to their former activity level and strength. Rehabilitation exercises are also crucial for preventing future injuries. There are specific exercises to help with different parts of the body that have been injured, if you need any assistance, it is advised you seek professional help from a registered Physiotherapist. However, for simple tips, you can ask NZSE staff to show you some simple stretches and movements that may be useful. Also, check out this useful resource that shows you which exercises will help with a specific injury.

Meet our alumni

Nataliyah Brampton

ATC Military Prep Graduate

Everything I learnt at ATC Military and Vocational Prep School at NZSE helped prepare me for my future in the navy. The tutors were supportive, motivating and always encouraged me to keep pushing myself to my limits and to keep going.

Nataliyah Brampton

NZSE Military and Vocational Prep Graduate

Everything I learnt at Military and Vocational Prep School at NZSE helped prepare me for my future in the navy. The tutors were supportive, motivating and always encouraged me to keep pushing myself to my limits and to keep going.