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Career education and guidance is most effective when it is an integral part of school life. This can be achieved in several ways. Career education and guidance can be at the heart of the pastoral care system, it can enhance school-based curriculum and enrich professional development for staff, and it can give new relevance to extracurricular activities.

Many schools report that whole-school understanding of and commitment to career education and guidance improves students’ engagement with learning and revitalises classroom teaching.

Opportunities to engage students, families, and whānau

Form teachers, whānau staff and deans are ideally placed to mentor students within regular pastoral care systems. Some schools make learning and career planning the focus of timetabled pastoral care time and of meetings with parents, whānau and caregivers. Individual support can range from a quick catch-up to structured guidance.

Schools can take advantage of opportunities around key transition points to engage students, families and whānau. For example, when students:

  • enrol at school
  • move from one school to another
  • make subject choices
  • consider applying for tertiary- or work-experience school programmes (for example through STAR or Gateway)
  • fill in course or programme evaluations
  • enter for national or other external qualifications
  • receive qualifications results and records of achievement
  • consider tertiary education and training choices and the criteria for them
  • are considering leaving school.

Building on extracurricular activities

Extracurricular activities provide rich opportunities for students, their families and whānau to think more broadly about careers. For example:

  • There are many career opportunities in sport and the arts, not just in performing but in the business and other systems that support them.
  • Engaging in community and extracurricular activities can enhance transferable skills, including the competencies employers look for in potential employees.
  • Participating in cultural events can strengthen students' cultural identity and self-concept, and connect them with people who may become role models or mentors.

Genuinely part of school life

Career education and guidance that is genuinely part of school life will engage a wide range of people, including:

  • classroom or subject teachers
  • form or home group teachers
  • deans, heads of department or faculty, house or whānau leaders, counsellors
  • non-teaching school staff
  • peers, student mentors, and role models
  • resource teachers: learning and behaviour
  • people who assist with extracurricular activities
  • parents or guardians and whānau support groups
  • community leaders and mentors, such as kaumātua, kuia, and church ministers
  • industry mentors and role models.

What supports this

It will be visible in school planning and reporting at all levels, from a school’s overall strategy for the future to the annual management plans of departments, syndicates and teams. It may involve setting reporting obligations in regard to career education and guidance for school middle managers.

Published on: 04 Aug 2009