Personalised career advice part of Labour party’s future of work

If the Labour Party can lead a government after next year’s election, expect to see some pretty big changes in the way careers advice is given to students like you in high schools.

Labour leader Andrew Little announced on 25 July that a future Labour-led government would ensure that every student from Year 9 on would have a personalised plan for their future career. Students would develop and modify this plan as they move through high school and ultimately into further study, work  and training.

Under the plan, every school will have highly trained, skilled careers advice staff to assist with this. While many schools already have highly qualified and effective careers teachers, the new plan calls for dedicated, professional advisors available to each high school in the country. It means more training for careers teachers, and partnering schools with business and training providers to deliver up-to-date and relevant careers advice.

“Careers advice can no longer be seen as an add-on, delivered by already overstretched teaching staff,” Andrew Little said when he announced the policy. The professional development and staff allowances required for careers advisors to make the plan work has been welcomed by the teachers union, the Post Primary Teachers Association.

It won’t be cheap. The plan will cost around $30 million a year to run once it is up and going. Included in the plan will be a Labour government making the hiring of apprentices a condition of some businesses winning government contracts.

This announcement links to Labour's education policy announced early this year which will offer three years free education for tertiary students and other "post-school" education.

"There are now 87,200 young New Zealanders not in employment, education or training. That cannot go on” says Andrew Little. “Labour’s plan will ensure every young New Zealander has the best shot at a great working life."

The plan has been welcomed by a number of groups and organisations. The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations applauded the idea, as has the Council of Trade Unions. The only negative voice on the plan to date has come from current Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce who described the plan as being "behind the times".

The National party, Joyce said, believed that one career advisor sitting down with teenagers to map out their path is "very old-fashioned". National was already ensuring career information got to students in an "inspiring" way.

"The real thing we need to do is get more passionate industry people in front of kids so they can tell their stories and inspire kids in their industry," Joyce told Newshub.

So, have you been inspired into a career choice yet, or would you prefer that a professional with your interests at heart sit with you to work your options out? Imagine what you might be stepping into after high school if you had the benefit of 4 or 5 years of professional advice and had tailored your learning to the future you had identified.