The Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) put out a report in 2016 aptly titled: The Future of Work: How Can we Adapt to Survive and Thrive?
Out of this report, two things were clear:
1. 46% of New Zealand jobs are at risk of automation in the next two decades - that’s 885,000 jobs, in all sectors.
2. There is a strong need for education to keep pace and for people to adapt and upskill.
The New Zealand Productivity Commission has also urged the need to ‘create a system that focuses on building career skills in young people rather than giving them information’(external link). It suggests that current information sources are fragmented and confusing.
This is the question underpinning NMIT’s new, three-year Bachelor of Career Development. The Level 7 qualification will prepare people for the sorts of transitions that are going to take place. It is the first of its kind in New Zealand.
“The programme is for a wide range of learners, some who may have come from secondary school teaching but not had coherent, structured or planned education in this field,” says Learning Designer Dr Sarah Proctor-Thomson.
“Currently, there’s a lot of professional development for career counsellors in schools, but it’s often ad hoc and fragmented, and so the programme recognises the need for a more consolidated offering of education.”
Sarah along with Subject Matter Expert Nicole Akuhata and Programme Coordinator Raewyn Laurenson are at the forefront of the programme’s design. The trio are currently in the thick of writing course content for the first intake in February 2018.
“Things are changing as we speak. Technology is evolving so fast, and it’s enabling us to work in ways that we couldn’t before or never even dreamed of five years ago,” says Raewyn. “With this programme, we’re trying to prepare learners for a greater understanding of how careers impact, not only on themselves and their students, but on the whole world.”
The programme reflects the needs of Māori and non Māori. It includes fundamental principles of social and human development (i.e. understanding how humans work in groups and individually). It incorporates practical counselling and coaching methods, and theories of career development. Year two includes a practical component, and in year three 30 points (a quarter of the year) is focused on career practice.
Some may say the programme is ambitious in its approach, but according to Nicole, this is intentional.
“We are addressing a gap in the market so we have to be sure that what we are providing is going to answer or take steps towards answering some of those big problems.”
At its core, the programme is about building resilience. “It’s about coping with change,” Raewyn expands. “It’s about knowing yourself, how to work with others, and then how to maintain this resilience throughout various career transitions.”
Sarah, Nicole and Raewyn also hope the Level 7 programme will support the development of leadership in careers knowledge and practice.
“There is something to say for people recognising that you have the authority to inform them,” Sarah suggests.
The sector itself recognises the need to ‘professionalise’. One of the strong mandates of CDANZ, the Career Development Association of New Zealand, is that members have a Level 6 qualification in this field, at least, and are engaged in ongoing professional development.
“The Level 7 programme will better prepare learners to lead, from the school, out into the community, and with whānau. To bring them into the career conversation that students are having.”
There has been a big push through Careers New Zealand from ERO and other education organisations to equip teachers to also be ‘careers teachers’. It is hoped that with additional knowledge in career development, teachers will be able to show how their topic is applicable to the regional, national and global workforce.
The key, explains Nicole, is making the link between secondary schools and the workforce more explicit. Giving students a better understanding of how the skills learnt in the classroom are relevant in life.
“It’s no longer about learning something for the sake of NCEA, but rather providing a bigger worldview for students.”
This is a trend already established in tertiary organisations.
“We are really responsive to how New Zealand as a whole is going to look in ten or twenty years,” Nicole stresses. “We’ve really gotta be forward thinking about preparing people to work with more diverse groups of students.”