Community Scoop

Careers tool to help secondary students beat unemployment

Press Release – Careers New Zealand

A ground-breaking tool developed by Careers New Zealand is set to revolutionise the way we prepare secondary students for training, employment and life beyond school.26 October 2011

Careers tool to help secondary students beat unemployment

A ground-breaking tool developed by Careers New Zealand is set to revolutionise the way we prepare secondary students for training, employment and life beyond school.

The Career Education benchmarks were launched today at Hornby High School in Christchurch by Education Minister Anne Tolley, ushering in an exciting new era for career development in this country.

The benchmarks, a New Zealand first, are a self-review tool designed to help secondary schools, teachers, career development specialists, principals and ultimately parents and boards of trustees, develop effective practice and deliver high quality career education to their students.

At the heart of the benchmarks is a clear description of the skills young people need to develop so they can successfully navigate their own career journey and life.

“The benchmarks describe the career literacy students need to acquire, so that as the world continues to change, they can respond, make good choices and plan their career and work paths. This will help young people to better manage their careers,” said Careers New Zealand chief executive Graeme Benny.

Dr Benny said the new benchmarks would be a critical contributor for schools to use to help their students receive effective career support and education. He said the benchmarks would enable a more consistent national approach across secondary schools and represented a big step towards ensuring students could make well-informed, smart decisions about their future.

The aim, he said, was to contribute to better outcomes for students who are now completing high school amidst a background of record youth unemployment and continuing economic uncertainty.

“Globalisation, technology and the new socioeconomic realities present young people with a myriad of choices – and challenges. Schools need to be able to respond to this dynamic environment by providing responsive and dynamic career support to young people.”

“The benchmarks are about helping students make great career decisions that ultimately support a socially and economically prosperous country by allowing these young New Zealanders to achieve their full potential.”

Dr Benny said each school throughout the country had a responsibility to make decisions about career education, and the benchmarks would help guide and support their thinking.

“Our school system is diverse and the benchmarks are designed to inform, not prescribe. Consequently, each schoolwill need to determine the process they will follow.

“We will make support materials available to help guide the self-review process and to assist schools to plan their career education programmes and services so they meet the needs of their students and communities.”

The benchmarks have been the culmination of extensive work and development from Careers New Zealand, with expert input from the Careers and Transition Education Association (CATE) and the education and research sectors.

Dr Benny said the benchmarks were trialled in about 30 schools (including integrated, state and kura) around the country in July and August, and a number of group consultation sessions were held with non-trial schools, to ensure the new tool was fit for purpose.

One of the trial schools was Hornby High School. Hornby principal Richard Edmundson said he was pleased his school was invited to participate in the benchmark trials, describing career education as a “Cinderalla of schools.”

“It’s (career education) so vital. In some schools it’s done fantastically well, in others, it’s not quite an afterthought, but…career education needs to be centred on the students, it needs to be deliberate, and that’s what I’m hoping these benchmarks will be able to achieve nationwide.”

“I haven’t seen all of the benchmarks, but from what I’ve seen I have no reservations.”

Careers New Zealand has a range of services to support schools in their career education work, including online support, professional development and intensive school programmes.

For more information on Careers New Zealand, visit


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