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Terms used in these guidelines


A career is the sequence and variety of work roles, paid and unpaid, that a person undertakes throughout a lifetime. More broadly, ‘career’ embraces life roles in the home and the community, leisure activities, learning and work. Work, learning and life, though sometimes distinct, are closely intertwined. Everyone has a career.

Career education

Career education consists of planned, progressive learning experiences that help students develop career management competencies that will assist them to manage their lives. Career education includes elements that stand alone and elements that are part of regular classroom teaching.

Career guidance

Career guidance provides individualised interactions to help students move from a general understanding of life and work to a specific understanding of the life, learning and work options that are open to them. It helps individuals or small groups to better understand themselves and their needs, confront challenges, resolve conflicts, develop new perspectives and make progress. Career guidance is carried out by staff with specialist training. This may include deans and teachers providing pastoral care.

Career management competencies

Career management competencies are the understandings, skills and attitudes that people use to develop and manage their careers. Career management competencies equip people to better understand themselves, make informed decisions about learning and work options, act on their decisions and participate effectively in work and society.

At risk

Students who are at risk of leaving school unprepared for the transition to the workplace or further education/training are students who leave school without developing the career management competencies they will need to manage their futures. They include students who leave school without considered career plans or unprepared for their intended pathways. They can include students who have been successful at school as well as those who have underachieved. In New Zealand schools, Māori students, refugees, Pacific students and migrants have been identified as more likely to be at risk.

Published on: 04 Aug 2009