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From the Chair: Brave new careers world?

10 August 2017


Students, schools and those retraining need to be better served by our careers system than the current mishmash of overlapping and inconsistent initiatives offered by a range of government agencies.

We welcome the government’s steps to explore ways to do this differently.  The merger of Careers NZ into the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) last month provides the opportunity to deliver a consistent and joined up system offering accurate and current information.

Careers New Zealand has worked hard to deliver quality and attractive online information to a diverse audience.

The current problem is that there are too many government agencies, schools and providers producing different and often poor quality, out-of-date or incomplete information.

There are half a dozen initiatives underway or implemented across MBIE, NZQA, TEC and the Ministry of Education to improve the range of tools, information, and advice on study and career options available to young people. These initiatives are marked equally by huge overlaps as well as gaps.

Currently each school is on their own to do their best within available resources. Boards of Trustees allocate resourcing from the Careers Information Grant, which ranges from $13.50 to $33 per student, based on school decile, and some may allocate additional operational funding.

This means the quality and amount of careers advice varies significantly from school to school, increasing the risk that students aren’t getting the advice or information they need to make the best study and career choices.

Universities New Zealand has long been advocating for a national system which would see all students get personalised advice and support, and access to quality information, at the right time.

So, what do we want to see?

We hope Careers NZ /TEC will develop a 3-5-year vision and strategy that looks at what study and career advice will look like from the perspective of a student, their advisor/parent, as well as for adults.

We want to see better management of transitions from compulsory to post-compulsory education.

This includes providing schools with guidance and support from one national academic and vocational pathway planning body, rather than each school going it alone.  This important work would be supported with a set of national standards and a code of professional practice.

We want to see students receive personalised careers support as early as their intermediate school years, and certainly before they make course choices in their first and second year at secondary school, well ahead of NCEA.

We want to see better tracking to ensure those who aspire to tertiary education are better monitored to ensure they are taking UE-approved subjects, with the flexibility to acquire the requisite number of credits to pass UE, as they move through the system or between schools.

Last year, in our submission to the Productivity Commission on tertiary education, we recommended the TEC look at licensing and adapting career information models that have been developed and successfully proven internationally.

One such example is CASCAID, which provides innovative online careers information and guidance solutions to “raise aspirations and inspire choices”. Their strength is that they focus on subject choices, pathway decisions and higher education options, not just careers. The information is packaged for different audiences and for different student ages.

We are hopeful about this new phase of career services for New Zealand and look forward to education and career planning being given the recognition and high quality support they deserve.

Last modified: August 10th, 2017