The Labour Party’s proposal to raise the status of careers guidance in schools has been welcomed by the education and training sectors. Under the new plan, every Year 9 student and above would receive a personalised career plan from a specifically trained careers advisor.
Labour Party leader Andrew Little announced the policy at the Industry Training Federation (ITF) AGM in Wellington. The policy is part of Labour's Future of Work Commission, a two-year project that will inform the party's new economic development policies.
"As the world of work changes, careers advice can no longer be seen as an add-on, delivered by already overstretched teaching staff," said Little.
"Our $30 million plan will partner schools with business and training providers to deliver up-to-date and relevant careers advice that prepares our young people for the future.”
ITF chief executive Josh Williams welcomed the initiative, saying it would help bridge the skills gap.
"While thousands of young people are not in jobs, education or training, a number of industries are reporting acute skills and training shortages. Young people need sustainable careers and New Zealand needs skilled workers."
Secondary schools’ union PPTA president Angela Roberts is pleased to see Labour’s plan encompass all students and not just those at risk.
“Access to personalised advice rather than just generic information is what’s really good about this. It’s not just a website where students go and look at what careers earn the most. It’s training people who are good at working with students to give them guidance that links to their needs,” said Roberts.
The New Zealand Union of Student Associations (NZUSA) has also praised Labour’s policy. The union describes New Zealand’s careers system as “broken” and has called for the Education and Science select committee to undertake an inquiry into careers advice and transitions.