Inspiring the Future

Inspiring the Future

Last updated 2 August 2021
Last updated 2 August 2021

Broaden young people's career aspirations and challenge biases.

The Inspiring the Future programme is one of TEC's priority workstreams to help deliver on the Career System Strategy to 'raise New Zealanders' education level and their skills and aspirations to meet the demands of work now and in the future'.

The programme connects primary and intermediate school students with role models from the world of work in a fun and inspiring event that broadens students’ horizons about future work possibilities. Role models talk about their jobs, the career pathway they took, any challenges they faced and the skills they have developed.

Find out more about Inspiring the Future

Drawing the Future 

Drawing the Future is part of the wider Inspiring the Future programme, and it is research into the career aspirations of 7- to 13-year-olds. Children draw what they want to be when they grow up and these drawings are used to understand the current career scope and range of New Zealand children.

Drawing the Future identifies biases that can limit young people’s career aspirations and choices. This will provide a benchmark for this country, and help to break stereotypes and focus attention on targeted areas.

TEC conducted Drawing the Future research in October - November 2019. Over 7,700 drawings were received from a wide representation of over 200 primary and intermediate schools all over New Zealand.

Children were asked to draw a picture of what they think they might like to be when they grow up, along with three questions:

  • Do you know anyone that does this job?
  • How do you know about this job?
  • Why do you want to do this job?

The results

The results were published in the Drawing the Future report (PDF 14 MB). The report identifies patterns of unconscious ethnic, gender, and socio-economic bias that often limit young people’s career aspirations and choices.

  • More than half (52 percent) of New Zealand children indicated they would like to do one of the nine most popular jobs.
  • The top career choice for boys and girls is a sportsperson (17 percent ahead of other career choices).
  • Boys are more likely to choose builder, engineer and farmer; while girls are more likely to choose teacher, artist, actor or singer.