As first year university students embark on orientation week, it highlights with the shear number of options available to school leavers now, good career guidance in New Zealand is important for making life-long and financially viable decisions.

New Zealand has one of the highest non-completion rates in the OECD, attributed generally to two reasons – a high number of part-time students, and those who commence study but do not want to complete their qualification as it is not what they anticipated.

Career guidance in New Zealand is often under-valued and sometimes inaccessible for some people. It is important to engage in career advice prior to making subject selections at secondary school and further prior to making decisions about tertiary study. With the rising cost of living and study becoming less affordable, particularly if students need to move away from their town or city, there is a reluctance to start study if there isn’t certainty about their career choice.

So, what can you do? Career guidance in New Zealand is available in schools through career counsellors and private career practitioners are available in some areas such as PeopleHQ, Rotorua Career Counsellors. As a parent, you can ask good questions to help guide students. For example, what subject do you like, but extend to what is about that subject you like. You need to dig deeper and explore work experience and engage in career conversations early. Explore their hobbies and the intricacies of what it is that they like. For example, do they like go-kart racing because they enjoy setting up, training and organising for the events. Is it that they like baking because it allows them to be creative?

Students going into YR13 without a plan can be very demotivating, especially when peers have their decisions and plans made. Starting career conversations should happen from an early age and more formal assistance should be engaged in from year 11.

If you want help, or your teen, get in touch with Rotorua Career Counsellors, PeopleHQ.