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Transforming Careers Advice

The Issue

There are 87,200 young New Zealanders not in employment, education or training. New Zealand has one of the worst rates of student retention of any developed country. McKinsey and Company international research has found once young people are in the job market, just 45% feel they made the right decisions about their study. Only 42% of employers thought young people were coming into the workforce adequately prepared.

In a rapidly changing world of work it is more important than ever that young New Zealanders are given the opportunities to develop a wide range of skills and attributes that will serve them well in their working lives.


Done well, careers advice provides the information, support and experiences that unlock the potential of our young people. We recognise there are many brilliant people working in our schools who are already doing amazing things to help young people find their feet in the world.But careers advice is still often seen as just an add-on, delivered by overstretched teachers who don’t always have access to all the resources they need. With uncertainty around the future of work greater than ever, the job of guiding our kids into well-chosen careers should be an integral part of our education system.

Labour will:

  • Ensure every student has a personalised career development plan.
  • Professionalise careers advice and integrate it into learning. Every high school will have highly trained, skilled careers advice teaching staff.
  • Develop partnerships between schools, businesses and training providers to provide young people with hands on experience in schools encouraging flexible approaches like the Gateway programme.

This will mean every high school will have highly trained, skilled careers advisors, working in partnership with education, industry, and training providers to support students from day one - guiding them through their decision-making about their future options.  Careers advice will be integrated into the curriculum as a core part of the mission of our public state schools. Because curriculum and teaching expertise will be so integral to the whole process, careers advisors will continue to be fully registered teachers.

More young people will get hands on experience of the roles and industries they want to be a part of. This will mean expanding programmes like Gateway. Every student from Year 9 onwards will have a personalised plan for their future career which they can develop as they move through schooling and ultimately into further work and training.

Once fully operational, this programme will cost around $30m a year to deliver. There is expected to be a phasing-in process, so these costs will not all occur in the first year of a Labour-led Government. Some of the resources to deliver this will come from the existing investment in school careers advice services, which amounts to around $5m a year, and from redirecting funding from other parts of school to work transitions allocations that have historically been underspent. This programme is also anticipating contributions from the private sector and industry training providers, as we build a new partnership in careers advice services together. While these contributions will be valued, the Government will continue to employ the staff and manage the programme to ensure our kids get the quality advice they deserve.