Health, farming top job picks for Southland kids

16:00, Dec 17 2013

A survey of Southland schoolchildren reveals medicine as the most popular career choice for girls and farming as the top pick for boys.

Pupils in the region are making career decisions earlier in life, prompting a call from the survey organiser to give career guidance earlier.

Venture Southland held the year 10 student career survey as part of its workforce development project, which focuses on youth retention and employment opportunities.

Venture Southland enterprise services manager Alistair Adam said the aim was to find out more about the career aspirations and decision making processes of the region's children, because they would shape the future of Southland.

The survey showed 90 per cent of the pupils had a clear idea of a career, he said.

"It would be useful to start introducing a broader range of career guidance earlier at school."


Australia and Southland were the most popular destinations for the children to work (22 per cent each), which was a good sign for the region, he said.

However, employers also needed to become involved with pupils' career education if they wanted to keep them in the region, he said.

The top career choices for boys were farmer, policeman, fireman, armed forces, and tradesman.

Top choices for the girls were jobs in the health sector, sports/physio/fitness and work with animals, while teaching was also popular.

The survey shows 73.2 per cent had a career in mind when they chose their year 11 subjects.

Enjoyment was the most popular reason for choosing a career, followed by interest in the field and a desire to help people.

Pupils were most influenced in their decision by themselves and their family.

Students were evenly split on whether they would consider further study in Southland.

Otago was the most popular location to undertake further training or study, particularly among girls.


To view the full report click here


The survey was rolled out to 613 pupils from Aparima College, Aurora College, Central Southland College, James Hargest College, Northern Southland College, Southland Girls' High School, and St Peter's College.

About 58 per cent of the students were female and about 59 per cent lived in Invercargill.

Otago Southland Employers Association chief executive John Scandrett said it was refreshing to see young people making earlier decisions about career development.

Employers should be working proactively with school career staff so regional skill shortages and labour market gaps could be recognised, he said.

Southland man Ivan Hodgetts, the immediate past president of Career Development Association New Zealand, said more needed to be done with career eduction.

However, career development needed to be managed over time because often people changed their minds during their working lives.

"At 14 or 15 years old, minds are not particularly rational and the reality is, people change jobs."

Picking an occupation was part of the career puzzle.

But it was not the core issue. It was a lot harder to help people navigate opportunities during career development, he said.

The Southland Times