Career planning is a process that begins when a child is small and talks about what they are going to do when they “grow up”. Firemen, astronauts, fairies, movie stars and many other occupations abound at this stage. For some children their aspirations at primary level do remain throughout their schooling but for the most many changes in thinking are likely to occur over the years.
Career development begins though, in this recognition that they will do something when they get older. The role of Schools in career development is twofold. Firstly in helping the child develop their skill set and self-esteem so they learn who they are and what they are good at doing. Secondly it is in providing them with learning opportunities about and related to the world of work and future career paths. This learning can take place in many forms in many different subjects throughout the school year.
A wide variety of the activities that happen throughout their whole school experience can help contribute to the decisions they make when they are ready to leave school. Specific career education assessment, career information sessions, experiential visits to institutions and work environments and other career related activities are the extension of the classroom learning into the wider community.
There are many tools available that can help with finding out what a student might like to do on leaving school or to identify an individuals strengths and weaknesses related to future occupations. In Year 11 all students will complete self assessment based on Holland's theory of career development which very simply put, aligns 6 possible personality strengths with 6 areas of work. The assessment recognises that no person is one dimensional and students end up with a 3 letter code (RIASEC Code) highlighting the 3 areas they are most compatible with. This code is used as the basis for ongoing career discussions with the student. Students can research possible occupations based on their RIASEC code using onetonline accessed here.
Another self assessment tool is available through CareersNZ and can be helpful in providing information about possible future areas of work once again related to student interests. The Careerquest programme can be accessed here.
Other useful research sites are:
Just the Job
Future In Tech (for science, engineering or technology)
Many of the learning institutions now have their own tools for helping students work out what degree or course of study they would like to do. Links for some of these are below. No Major Drama is the most general site as it lists all qualifications whereas others are specific to the various institutions.
No Major Drama
AUT Career Tracks Auckland University
- What in the world do I want to study?
There are other things that need to be learnt to understand the pathways from school and some of the language that is associated with further study is explained here:
This is the first degree that you complete. It involves at least 3 to 6 years of study and is placed at Level 7 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQA). Undergraduate degrees are offered at Universities, Polytechnics and other private training organisations (PTO’s).
This is any further study that is done after completion of the first degree. Postgraduate qualifications can be awarded as certificates, diploma’s or as a Masters Degree. Further study after completing a Masters degree results in a Doctorate (Phd).
At undergraduate level are offered at Level 2, 3, 4 or 5 on the NZQA framework. These are mainly 6mths to 1 year courses at polytechnics and other private organisations.
At undergraduate level are at Level 5 or 6 on the NZQA framework. These are usually 2 year courses at polytechnics, other private organisations and a few University diploma’s remain in specialized areas.
Trade related qualifications that combine practical work and study and generally take 3 years or more to complete. They often include short courses at polytechnics at levels 2,3 and 4.
When deciding on your first degree to study there are choices that you need to make regarding your study which will be governed by the specific university regulations for that degree. Some of these are:
What area do you want to study in? What degree best suits my interests, subject strengths, and career aspirations. Some subjects can be studied as a science or as an art for example psychology, mathematics. This decision affects what else you can study in your degree and what sort of jobs you may get with your qualification.
What subject you want to study the most in your degree? This subject is called the 'major' and will require you to complete a certain number of specified papers some of which will be compulsory.
Do you want to specialise in two subject areas? In many degrees you can have two specific subjects that you focus on and that is referred to as a double major.
Can I have other subject options in my degree? You can add a minor subject to your major subject where you do not study as many papers but usually do at least one paper at 300 level in the minor subject. This often helps increase your range of job possibilities.
Should I do a conjoint degree? This is where you choose two different degrees to complete eg Law and Commerce Degrees, Science and Arts Degrees. Time at University is usually less than if you had studied the two degrees seperately. If interested in doing this you need to make sure you know the regulations and requirements for completing each degree.