Transcript: Transitions from Secondary School – Supporting school leavers to create a fulfilling life

Transcript: Transitions from Secondary School – Supporting school leavers to create a fulfilling life

Last updated 5 August 2022
Last updated 5 August 2022


Ok, we’ll kick in.

Nau mai haere mai – welcome everyone! Welcome to this TEC webinar where we’re going to share the findings from our research: ‘Transitions from Secondary school, supporting school leavers to create a fulfilling life’.  Thank you all for joining us today – (great to see so many of you online).

Ko Anna Jackson tōku ingoa,

He kaiwhakahaere au,

Ki te timi -  Ngā Māramatanga.

I’m Anna Jackson, I manage the Insights team at the Tertiary Education Commission.

I’ll be facilitating the webinar today. I’m joined by Bridget, Zoe and Sean from the Insights team. They carried out the research and they’ll be sharing the  findings and the stories they’ve heard - direct from learners themselves - about their experiences as they transition from secondary school and how they decide what to do next.

I’d like to begin with a karakia

Whakataka te hau ki te uru,

Whakataka te hau ki te tonga.

Kia mākinakina ki uta,

Kia mātaratara ki tai.

E hī ake ana te atakura.

He tio, he huka, he hauhū

Tihei Mauri Ora!


Before I hand over to our presenters, I have a few housekeeping things to note:

Firstly, just to give you an idea of who else is on the webinar today: we have a mix of government colleagues, and representatives from Tertiary Education Organisations, Workforce Development Councils, NGOs and schools. And I think we all share the common goal of wanting to support learners to succeed.

Bridget, Zoe and Sean will spend around 45 minutes covering findings, and then we’ll have 10-15 minutes at the end for questions.

Given there are quite a lot of you, if you have questions, please pop them in chat and we'll take those at the end. We may not get to all of them on the call, but we can follow up any unanswered ones afterwards. We’re also happy to be contacted for questions at a later date.

When asking a question, it would be great if you could please include the organisation that you’re from; it’s really helpful for us to know what’s of most interest to different audiences as we continue to share the work.

And finally just to let you know this session is being recorded and the recording will be uploaded to the TEC website.

I will now hand over to Bridget to tell us about the research objectives and approach.


Kia ora koutou, Ko Bridget Burmester tōku ingoa, he kairangahau au ki te timi Ngā Māramatanga. Zoe, Sean and I are SUPER excited to talk to you about the Transitions research.

Firstly, thanks and acknowledgements to those who have supported the work, many of whom are on this call today, and to those schools who have enabled this work at various stages. But most of all, thank you to the learners and ākonga who so generously shared their stories with us. You’ll appreciate that it’s a privilege to hear directly from these learners, so please treat their experiences as the taonga that they are.

Ākonga have given informed consent for us to share the stories that are their reality. Whilst names have changed within the report, stories have not so please hold these with care. You will also meet two learners through video clips, who have given further specific consent for us to share these with you. These must not be recorded or shared outside of today’s presentation. We will share a recording of today with you with the videos removed, which you can share with colleagues.

The TEC’s vision is for “A resilient, prosperous Aotearoa – where every person has the skills, knowledge and confidence to create a fulfilling life”. A crucial point on that journey is leaving school, where students make a first major decision towards their fulfilling life, and the pathways they take explode with variety. The decisions school leavers make impact their outcomes throughout life, and having the right support can help them make the highest quality decisions. To understand school leavers and their experience of this decision, we conducted deep dive research into what a fulfilling life is for school leavers, and the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to make their school-leaving decision. It delivers a detailed understanding of how school leavers decide what to do when they leave school, what they choose, their needs and the barriers they face.

The report also includes specific analysis throughout for the TEC’s priority groups (Māori, Pacific, disabled, neurodivergent, and women), and a section at the end on specific findings for school leavers choosing particular types of pathways such as apprenticeships, university, or those who are still undecided.  

Today we are giving a brief overview of all the main sections, but there is a lot more detail in the report so if you haven’t had a chance to look at it already, please do. As Anna said, we’re also aware that the audience today represents a lot of different areas of the sector and different sections will be more or less relevant to everyone’s mahi.

The project is a foundational piece of research which provides the TEC and sector with an evidence base about this key customer group. By understanding the current generation of school leavers, we can improve outcomes, not only for them but for future generations as well. We see this research as a key tool in understanding learners across Aotearoa and supporting learner centric decision making.

These insights are currently being used to inform key work programmes and priorities across the TEC including our online career planning solution and the National Careers System Strategy. Sharing these findings with you today will hopefully provide input into your own work to support learner success.

We have taken a unique, in-depth and integrative approach to collecting and synthesising four types of data. This is the first project of this kind that many of us have seen in a government agency. We’ve analysed data from the IDI tracking actual school leavers to see where they come from, go to and how those things differ by important characteristics like NCEA results. We’ve reviewed a ton of literature on what’s already known about school leavers’ decisions and outcomes. We sent a survey out to all schools in Aotearoa and over 500 school leavers replied. Those results have been weightedto reflect the demographic characteristics of the whole school leaver population. And we had the privilege of travelling around the motu interviewing 56 school leavers in depth about their experiences of making this decision, with a particular focus on hearing from those who weren’t as well represented in the other data sources. 

Each of these data sources have been analysed in depth separately, as well as then synthesised together to produce a holistic view of school leavers’ decisions. Throughout today’s presentation you’ll hear findings that reflect each of them and this synthesis. 

Zoe’s going to kick off with findings from the first section.


Kia ora everyone. I’m going to start off by giving a walk though of who today’s school leavers are. This page pulls out a few key figures that were important to know. 

This graph at the top shows the ethnicities of school leavers. Our first finding here is that a growing proportion of school leavers are Māori, Pacific, Asian or Middle Eastern, Latin American & African. 25% of school leavers are now Māori, which is significantly higher than Aotearoa’s general population proportion of 16.5% Māori. Māori and Pacific are priority groups for TEC, and so as these learner groups grow, the work to reduce systemic barriers will also have a growing impact.  

Another of TEC’s priority groups is disabled and neurodivergent learners. We can see that 15% of learners report difficulties consistent with a disability, and 9% with some type of neurodivergence. 

Something else that was important to understand about learners context, was that 82% had additional responsibilities outside of school. At the time that they are pretty busy deciding what to next, they are also balancing school work with paid work, caring responsibilities or volunteer work. 

Now we can look at when they leave school. At the top of the page, we can see 76% OF LEARNERS LEAVE SCHOOL IN YEAR 13. That has increased from 71% over the last decade. Learners are staying in school slightly longer than they did previously. 

We can also look at what qualifications learners leave school with. 40% of all learners leave with University Entrance (UE). 

We can also see that 20% leave with only NCEA Level 1 or below. The trend is moving in a positive direction though. That proportion is slightly lower now than it was 10 years ago, and the number leaving with NCEA Level 3 has increased over the last decade. So as well as staying in school longer, learners are leaving with slightly higher qualifications now too. 

Now looking at where school leavers go next, this graph shows which pathway they take after leaving school. 60% go straight from school into tertiary study of some kind. Within that, we can see that university is the most common pathway at 30% of all leavers. In comparison, just 6% of learners enter an apprenticeship. Polytech and PTE are in between at 13% and 10%. The graph shows the next most common pathway is work, with 29% of school leavers going straight into work. The next pathway is NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training), with 8% on that pathway. 

So that gives us a bit of a ‘big picture’ idea of who school leavers are.

I’ll hand over to Sean, and he’ll talk through what a fulfilling life is to learners.


Kia ora koutou.

The TEC’s purpose and vision sets out to support New Zealanders to achieve a fulfilling life, so as a starting point for the research we asked learners what ‘a fulfilling life’ means to them.

Most learners value enjoyment and happiness from their life. We see that overall these are the most important things to learners –with 42% of learners valuing each.

and other things are also important – having a good work life balance, continuing to learn and progress, stability.

Having enough money was important – to do the things I needed to, this was the more important than lots of money where I could do anything I wanted. This pattern was held regardless of decile.

For Pacific learners in particular we saw that supporting my family was a really important value. Supporting family was important for 50% of Pacific learners, compared to 22% of the full cohort. This was often the number one thing for those who ranked it, and this often outweighed individual happiness and their own enjoyment.

As well as asking learners what their definition of a fulfilling life was, we also asked what factors are important to them in a career path.

When it comes to a career (as opposed to life in general), enjoyment is even more important: 81% of school leavers are motivated towards their career pathway of choice because “it’s something I enjoy or am interested in”.

Discovering their passions, interests and what they enjoy is often the starting point for how learners make decisions, and is a natural ‘in’ for careers products and services.

For those learners who do value enjoyment, the career system functions well and connects them into pathways based on this. However, there are learners with different values who feel shut out.

For example those who don’t value enjoyment. Enjoyment isn’t the most important thing for ALL school leavers – particularly not, for some of the priority groups. For example:

  • Pacific school leavers value “supporting my family” higher than “doing what I enjoy”
  • Neurodivergent and disabled learners place more importance than others on stability or being in control of their life.

For those learners who don’t value enjoyment highly in their career, or value something else more highly, there is no ‘in’ to engage with career planning and decision-making. This disproportionately affects learners in the TEC priority groups because they are more likely to have other types of values.

Also those learners trying to meet multiple values…

When choosing what they want in a career school leavers are also trying to balance a number of other factors and priorities as well, including work environment, doing what they are good at, pay and/or making a decision with others rather than as an individual. For example, one learner said he would “Just do whatever my mum needed me to do”.

and Those who don’t know what they enjoy.

  • School leavers who find the transition particularly difficult most often say this is because they “don’t know what I want - or enjoy. This quote from Maaka really illustrates this – “Miss keeps telling me to follow what I’m interested in, but I don’t know what I like”.
  • Learners who don’t yet know what they enjoy can feel like they have no touchpoint for engaging with careers, and are more likely to still be undecided on their next step.

This can make it more difficult for some learners to get engaged into a career system, if at the start of it they find it difficult to connect in and immediately feel shut out.

When thinking about how we can connect learners into the career system, we could start thinking about how a range of learner values, can be an ‘in’ into the system, including values like ‘Supporting my family’, rather than a solely enjoyment-based approach.


The graph here shows the 11 most common careers that school leavers said they were planning to pursue.  

The number one career aspiration school leavers had was engineer: 10.4% of leavers wanted to pursue this pathway, making it twice as common as the next most popular career of businessperson. 

Across the group, these top 11 careers tend to be mostly professional, trades and community occupations.  

The other thing this data shows is that school leavers’ aspirations are fairly narrow. Half of school leavers are planning to pursue one of these 11 careers.

Some of you might know of the Drawing the Future research which TEC conducted in 2019, which found that just over half of primary school aged children aspired to one of 9 careers. That work is also on the TEC website. So whereas half of primary school aged children aspire to one of 9 careers, half of school leavers aspire to one of 11 careers. Aspirations are slightly broader for this cohort of high school leavers, but not by a lot. There’s still work to be done to broaden aspirations. 

As well as asking what careers school leavers are planning to pursue, we also asked them what career they would pursue if there were no barriers in their way. We’ve called this their dream career. So the green left hand side of the diagram shows their top dream careers, including sportsperson, a variety of creative careers, and psychologist/therapist. These are absent from the planned careers on the right from the previous slide. In the centre are careers that feature in both the most popular dreams and the most popular plans, highlighting those very visible and prestigious occupations.

For 67% or 2 out of 3 learners, their dream career was different than the career that they planned to pursue.  For almost 1 in 3, their dream career was in a different field altogether, so a total pivot from there to their actual plan. These patterns tell us that practical considerations and barriers are impacting choices, and in particular causing learners to pivot away from creative careers. 

So to wrap up from this section, some opportunities are to:

  • Broaden learners’ aspirations at secondary school as well as primary, by making sure learners have awareness of and access to a wide range of pathways and role models.
  • Package support and information around the most common aspirations, and offer similar alternative pathways for those who need to pivot.


We know that practical factors and barriers are impacting learners, and can make it harder for them to follow their preferred pathway when leaving school.  

We’ll look at the top 5 barriers that school leavers face. 

The first barrier is Cost – this was the most common barrier learners faced, affecting 48%. It was even more of a barrier for priority groups, affecting 76% of Pacific learners and 72% of disabled learners. Cost influences choices in a few ways. Firstly, there is an opportunity cost to study, in terms of money not earned while studying, and when there are financial pressures to support themselves and their family and whānau, some learners feel pressure to enter the workforce instead.  

The financial cost of study itself can also shut down some or all tertiary pathways.  Fear of the high cost of study, and taking out loans for those large amounts, discouraged many learners from tertiary study. It particularly discouraged learners from longer qualifications, and/or those without a really clear prescribed career pathway at the end. Living costs associated with tertiary study away from home also meant that many learners compromised on their choice of pathway so they could stay close to home. This was the case even with Fees Free in place. 

The next barrier is Connections – one in three learners said a lack of connections to networks, not know how to get into a field, was a barrier. Knowing people in industries or on pathways they are interested in lets learners experience what it’s really like, and connect with employers and others that can help facilitate their journey. 

Thirdly is Capacity – lack of time and space to fully engage with career planning was a barrier. At the point of leaving school and deciding what to do next, it’s often learners most academically challenging year yet. And as we heard, 82% have other responsibilities they are juggling at the same time. Practical demands on time and space disproportionately affect learners in priority groups. For example, 84% of Pacific learners have responsibilities at home caring for family  and whānau, and 51% of Māori learners do, compared to 15% of the non- Māori and non-  Pacific learners.

[Those extra responsibilities or experiences can actually be very beneficial in exposing young people The other side of this is of course that those extra responsibilities or experiences can actually be very beneficial in exposing young people to work, and work concepts. They also help learners to build the transferable skills that they apply to work. concepts and their choice. they also help them to build the transferable skills that they apply to work.]

The next barrier is COVID, which was a game-changer for some. 23% of school leavers’ decisions were affected by COVID-19.  

Those effects included 

  • Having a negative impact on their mental wellbeing  
  • preventing international travel 
  • affecting the industry they wanted to get into 
  • affecting their ability to get the grades/credits they need  

For more than one in three of learners affected by COVID-19, it had triggered a complete re-thinking of their plan.  

Again, all of those negative affects of COVID were much more likely to impact TEC priority groups. 

Finally, Systemic Biases. Systemic bias leads to learners not having equal access to opportunities and resources, and it influences pathways. Learners are resilient in the face of this, but it has an impact. 

For Māori and Pacific learners, we see they are twice as likely to leave school with NCEA Level One or below, less likely to enter university and when they do enter tertiary it’s more likely to be at foundation levels than other groups. 

These patterns are caused by streaming practises, socioeconomic inequalities and others, which we have more detail on in the report. 

For women, they are much less likely to enter apprenticeships than men. Even when they are pursuing similar careers, women may be more likely to do so through provider-based study pathways than through work-based pathways. This can have implications for future debt, skills required and employability. 

All of us play a role to address these barriers and systemic inequities. Some opportunities for the whole system are:

  • Ensuring learning environments in secondary school and tertiary are culturally affirming
  • Careers guidance is culturally affirming, accessible and designed for the needs of priority groups.
  • Making sure learners have information about cost and financial support for pathways up front to avoid options being ruled out unnecessarily
  • And clear guidance on the application process and timing for grants and scholarships.
  • Facilitate connections between learners and employers, through work experience, careers expos and Gateway.


The next part of the report is about those key inputs into this transition decision. 

Learner  skills, knowledge and confidence needs. 

Firstly; I will cover Knowledge needs. This section explores learners informational needs; where learners get their information from, usefulness of information, and influencers. 

In terms of informational needs, learners need 4 types of information to make an informed decision. 

Firstly they needed Orienting information - which is that knowledge about learners strengths, what they want, their values.  

Next was tailoring information, knowledge about which pathways align with the learners values, interests and definitions of success.  

Then there is deep information, which is that pivotal and often experiential information about what a pathway is really like.  

Finally - Logistical - the practical, actionable information to get to their chosen pathway.  

Learners get information from 3 main sources – people, experiences and static resources – with people being the most common channel of information.

Parents and other family/whānau often have strong and close interpersonal relationships, which often mean they have strong personal influence.

Some learners are even more likely to seek information and become aware of career aspirations through personal connections (e.g. 30% of Māori and  39% of Pacific school leavers knew family/whānau members who did their aspired job, vs 21% of non-Māori and non-Pacific students).

But what we see is that sometimes, the information school leavers get isn’t that useful. So we mapped those who received against usefulness of information.

What this tells us is just that people use and go to information in different ways but those informational needs are not quite met. There’s room to improve the usefulness of every type of information source.

What we heard was that those first-hand experiences of meeting role models, work experiences, Gateway, was the most useful sources of information in helping learners make decisions. These first-hand experiences and opportunities to trial pathways increase confidence, reduce uncertainty and validated pathways.

Great quote from one of the learners “You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it, so why would you do that for a career”.

Static resources, like websites are a starting point for many and is an especially trusted source -rated as one of the most useful sources of information for learners, but nearly 40% of SL had never gone online for career advice.   

So for making this decision we need to ensure all learners are equipped with these 4 types of information and support learners to connect with the world of work and those ‘so useful’ first hand experiences.


This section looks at the skills learners need to make their transition decision. We want to be clear here that when we say skills we mean decision-making skills, not job-specific skills for a particular role.

We found that having the knowledge and right information is necessary, but not sufficient, to make this transition decision. Learners need to be equipped with the appropriate decision-making skills in order to make a choice that is likely to lead to their version of a fulfilling life.  

Up until the point of leaving school, the decisions that school leavers have had to make are almost exclusively those that have a ‘right’ answer. And the way for them to figure this out often involves applying a formula or specific procedure to uncover the answer, or possibly asking an expert for help who can point them towards a procedure or the answer itself.  

But the decision ‘what do I do when I leave school’ is fundamentally different. is often the first time learners have had to face a decision like this before. This decision is what we are calling a complex decision. 

For this decision, there is no right answer, and certainly not one that can be known before it is made. It’s made up of lots of smaller decisions, can impact others, and can ONLY be made with imperfect information. SL are not used to making this type of decision.  

And we see evidence that SL haven’t yet been equipped with the skills for making complex decisions. This is because the reasons they find the decision difficult point to gaps in complex decision-making skills. For example, the top reasons students found it difficult were because:

  • they didn’t know how to compare different types of options: 44% didn’t know how to choose an option or compare their pathways.
  • they didn’t know how to set a goal for the decision: 38% didn’t know what they wanted
  • and the stakes are paralysing: 23% struggled with the weight of the decision. 

Being inequipped with the right skills can lead to learners making decisions that don’t align with what they want. For example:  

  • In the bottom middle, Melody says “I really really liked hotel management, probably because it’s in different places, and I want to go almost everywhere. Since you get to travel while you’re working and you get paid.” Here Melody is doing a literal translation of what she enjoys – travel – to a pathway – tourism and hotel management, without really understanding that hotel management doesn’t necessarily involve a lot of travel. 
  • Or Alison in the top middle, said “It takes 7 years to do a business degree, and I need that to own my own business.” Alison made her pathway decision based on incorrect information she was provided. Because she hadn’t been equipped with skills to assess information validity and credibility, her dream of opening a bakery was over before she’d even really explored it.

Fundamentally gaps in decision-making skills lead to poorer outcomes for everyone: 

  • Unnecessary costs for learners and the system  
  • Greater learner distress if they have chosen something that doesn’t align with their definitions of success.

For better outcomes, SLs need to be equipped with the appropriate decision making skills for complex decisions. These skills include the abilities to:  

  • Assess the credibility and objectivity of information sources.  
  • Understand what their ‘blind spots’ are and how those could affect their decision.  
  • Set goals and understand their values, focusing on the things that mean the most to them and understanding cognitive biases that can influence their thinking.
  • Weight, prioritise and compare different types of options where the costs and benefits of each aren’t directly comparable.


The next section covers Confidence needs for learners, and the role that confidence plays in this transition decision.

48% of school leavers said that a lack of confidence was a barrier to doing what they wanted when they left school. This sat alongside cost as the most common barrier learners faced. 

This lack of confidence came in two forms: 

  1. Firstly, the whole thing; feels overwhelming. Learners feeling they have to get this decision right, it’s going to determine the rest of my life… 17 year olds saying its ‘too late’ to change path, because subject choices that they’d made as early as Year 10 meant that they were now ‘locked in’.  The stakes can feel extremely high, with no room to fail.
  2. Secondly, it’s a lack of self-belief and confidence in their own abilities. They don’t feel competent enough to do it. 

I’m going to share a quote from one of the learners who responded to our online survey. I want to remind everyone, that this learner took the time to write this out word for word in one of our open text boxes.

“I’m fearful. I fear the future so much, it’s hard to describe it.

“I fear that I won’t be able to make a life for myself. I fear that I won’t get the grades I want, that can lead me towards that field. I don’t know if I have what it takes, the potential to study science or engineering. I’m not naturally smart. Not at all. Every grade I get is rooted in that fear. So I try my absolute best, so it ends up hurting even more when I don’t get the grade.

“I want to do well, I want to be able to look at my life and say that I did it. I found a dream, I turned it into a goal, and accomplished it. I want to succeed, but I’m scared. And this fear has held me back and continues to do so.

“I’m scared of finishing high school, so damn much. I’m scared of university, of choosing what to study. I’m scared. I’m so scared.

"So yeah, it’s been extremely difficult.”

What we did hear from learners was the importance of champions to build confidence and enable success. Champions are people who provide guidance and support, and let learners know that they have someone in their corner who believes they can do it. They could be a parent or family figure, a teacher, a student who is a couple of years ahead of them on their chosen pathway.

I’d encourage everyone to take that role of building confidence and empowering learners to take their next steps, and being that learner champion.


The next section of the research looks at the different pathways learners take from secondary school.

Here we explore the specific needs of school leavers who go on to either an apprenticeship, a polytech, a PTE, university, into the workforce, some other or NEET pathway, and those who are still undecided even right at the point of leaving school. 

These are displayed in handy one page infographics towards the end of the report. Would encourage you to read in case you were interested in one particular pathway.

I’m going to quickly show you the undecided group and what their needs look like, because this might be a group we know least about. 

Looking across the top of the page, you can see that up to 10% of all school leavers are still undecided about their next step – so similar in size to those who go to a PTE.  

We see evidence that these learners are typically finding this decision a lot more difficult. If you look at the left side of the infographic there are some of the characteristics of undecided learners – we see learners who have needs across the spectrum of knowledge, skills and confidence.

For example, they are much less likely to have confidence in their short-, medium- and long-term future, less likely to have orienting information about what their passions or interests are, tailoring information about what those mean for their career options, and logistical information about their next step.

On the right, feelings of being anxious, confused, sad and pressured typify what this pathway feels like for these learners. 

You can also see they often have experienced more barriers than the full cohort - lack of money, availability of jobs in my area, family not supporting their choices. And yet up the top, we can see they still expect to mostly leave with UE.  

The undecided group is one that can benefit from all of our support,  so we’d encourage you to think about how your mahi can make a difference for undecided learners.

That concludes just some of the main findings from this work. 

So just to wrap up and remind you of some of the key takeaways from the research:


  1. The SL population is diversifying, and learners have a wider range of backgrounds and needs  
  2. A fulfilling life and career often means pursuing enjoyment and happiness, but career aspirations reflect a balancing act between values and practical considerations.
  3. Systemic biases are impacting learner success 
  4. Even with all the information, learner can only use it effectively when they have the appropriate decision-making skills.

And finally number 5. Confidence is impacting success, affecting almost half of learners.

So that was a quick run through the research. There is a lot more in there which you can see in the full report, but hopefully that gives you a flavour of the findings.

Nga mihi nui, ki a koutou. Thank you for your time, attention and respect for these learners’ journeys. 

I will hand back to Anna to facilitate the Q+A and close the session.


Kia ora Sean, thanks team.

I can see there are lots of questions and comments in the chat, so I'm going to attempt to run through those. I notice the first few are all around the data and whether there are different breakdowns, and I think in most cases the answer to that is yes and we'll come back to you with what those breakdowns are. If they're not in the report already, rather than trying to dig, dig them all out now, so I will scoot on to maybe.

Trent has a question on career aspirations, do you have the career aspirations organized by ethnicity and is there anything that we could say about that now? Perhaps team?


I can jump in with that one, so unfortunately we didn't have quite enough statistical power to show the same kinds of results by different ethnic groups. But there are potentially some indications I think in the Appendix, Appendix B of the report contains the full list of career aspirations beyond those top 11 as well.


Question from Joanne, Tāhatu is planning to include Māori pathways not currently mapped or included in Were any of Māori or Pacific pathways mentioned by students in the survey? And can we find this information in the report? They're nodding. I think that's a yes.


There were a couple. For example, one of the learners I interviewed was pursuing a career in whakairo so yeah, there are some of those in there too.


And Sherry raises a really good point here. Kia ora Sherry, are practical considerations necessarily bad? Between a gig job like an actor and a stable job like a teacher, maybe a stable job is a good first start and the dream job can be further down the road? I think that's a really good point.


Yeah, I think that's yeah, you're absolutely right. I can jump in here, I think, yeah, you're right. It's sort of like. Right, we just want to explore how people actually made decisions and understanding that people do make decisions because of practical considerations. It's not necessarily a bad thing. Yeah, we totally agree with that. What you're saying.


I think probably the main reason that it could be a concern is that it's causing a lot of distress, and that's where the decision-making skills come in. As a lot of learners we spoke to felt like it's it's not OK for me to not know and to be having to balance these things. And if I don't do my dream then I'm losing out on my enjoyment value. But if I don't become a really stable job like a trades person, then I'm not supporting my family and it's there's a lot of internal conflict reflected there.


And we also saw evidence of people making practical considerations. But then those jobs weren't actually leading to sort of jobs that were in the sort of the future labor market needs as well. So people were making these practical considerations. But then it's not really aligning to a job that they could have in the future as well, so. Yeah, we see also evidence of that for sure.


Uhm yeah, thanks Erica for mentioning, helpful for young women like Monique wanting to go into trades.

Jessica asks is there any scope for reviewing our studylink processes and allocations to support financial viability for ākonga. And I think that's definitely potentially one solution to those cost barriers that we should be looking at. Thanks, Jessica.

Thank you Sadna for your comments. Kia ora koutou, It’s so valuable learning about the New Zealand learners and school leaver, their school life, and whanau, dream career choice and versus real career choice. Was this the first research and will TEC continue with this research?

So I guess I could answer that one. So this was the first foundational piece of research conducted by the Insights team at TEC. And yes, we will be continuing. We've got plans to continue, looking at transitions from secondary school, first of all. We're really hoping that we're going to be able to recontact some of the participants from this research and find out what they're doing now and how that journey has progressed from when we spoke to them a couple of years ago. And we're also exploring and scoping some research to look at different perspectives around the transition as well. So speaking to teachers, principals, employers, TEOs and to understand their perspective so potentially we'll be reaching out to some of you for some help with that. And then we're also carrying out foundational research with different groups of learners, and we've done some research with learners in foundation education, which we hope to be able to share with you in the next few months.

  1. I think, yeah, a really popular comment here. Obviously a huge need to have quality well-resourced careers advice to be available to this cohort both in school and outside of school. Careers Advisers have been highlighting this need for a very long time, and the hours provided in most schools are pitiful. And that's possibly a preview to some of the findings that we might have from that next phase of research. And we'll just definitely be exploring that and taking it to the people that need to know that in the future.

Thanks, Liz, Kia ora, iIt would be fabulous if TC recognized the success outcome of Gateway as being transitioned into full-time employment. Currently, if the student moves from Gateway into employment before finishing their 20 credits, they or the school is penalized. And yeah, I think that's a recognized problem with the way that we look at outcomes and actually moving into employment is the end goal. And if they do that early then that's a great thing. Totally agree.

Has your analysis been drilled down to the regional and district levels? Somebody wants to take that.


There are a few kind of different sub answers to that I think, so within the IDI I we can drill down regionally. With the survey we didn't have enough power to target specific regions and I think in the appendix it references there are some regions that are overrepresented and under, vice versa. The way that we wanted to, or that we could try and mitigate that risk was by balancing it out with the interviews. So yeah, with the interviews we particularly asked to be connected with learners who weren't as well represented in the survey, especially. And so those different sources kind of mitigate that risk.


And we may be able to break the IDI data down. Thank you Darren.

Jessica's comments I think we need to build capability with all teachers and school staff. Every person should be able to engage in a career's conversation with our conga, demystifying it and making it OK to ask those hard questions. I think that's a great point and yeah this idea that learners can have champions and it could be a range of people within their school people that they connect to would really help.

Want to tautoku the request from Tararua REEP and Manawatu-Whanganui. Here in Whanganui-a-Tara it would be great to get the regional data. Yes, we've talked about that.

How can we access this report on slide deck? We'll be sharing it. It's already shared on our website. You've put a link in already have you? Bridget thanks. So that should be there for you now.

What are the next steps for TEC to action and support these issues you have highlighted? from Stephanie? Somebody like to talk through the next steps for TEC.


Yeah, I can take this one so yeah, so the works really been feeding into one of our big strategic priorities, which is about an integrated career response. So we've got work programs and projects within that that we're feeding directly into, so we've got the online career planning solution, which is Tāhatu, where we're thinking about like we're working really collaboratively with the team to think about how we can design and develop products and content and real tools that are like confidence building or culturally-affirming that really meet the needs of learners. So lots of engagement with that team. Likewise with the national career strategies as well. So we're really engaging with that team to think about. Yeah, how can learners needs be fell into that fall into that career strategy as well, and then just sort of generally with lots of sharing across the TEC and we really want to help support more learner centric decisions and sort of building everybody across the TEC’s understanding of learners so that it all fits, feeds into how we can best support them as well. We've got lots of work that we're doing to promote and share the research and embed it into our work.


Kia ora Sean, and question here from Jaron. Are there plans to follow up on the cohorts of this study in one year and three years to see what the actual journey entails? I've talked about contacting some of the participants, but there's potentially some other work we're going to do in the IDI. Really keen to follow up on those and have kind of a longer-term view of the outcomes of school leavers. So yes, is the short answer.

Lots of great comments. Thank you.

Do you wanna, do you wanna just read that one out Bridget?


So I've just seen one from Andre, I hope I'm pronouncing that correctly, about what proportion of the findings were based on IDI data versus surveys. So the things that the IDI can tell us. Highly accurate data about actual school leavers. Every single one of them in the country, so a lot of the demographic characteristics, the information about where they come from, where they go to. School leaving results. Any of that kind of hard big data comes from the IDI where possible and the things that the IDI can't tell us are what's in learner's heads. So anything to do with beliefs, thoughts, opinions, experiences, that comes from the survey and the interview and integrated together as well.


Thanks Bridget, great question here from Beth, just checking what were the reasons behind the research and did you have results that surprised you?


Uh, yeah, I can jump in on that one. The reasons behind the research and the main one was around building a shared understanding of this learner group within TEC. We know it's really important group from our careers, service offerings and from the investment point of view as well. So yeah, really as an Insight team, we wanted to create that and then be able to share it more widely like we're doing now. And then as well, also knowing that we'll be able to feed it into different initiatives within TEC. So as I think has been mentioned Tāhatu, the online career solution, and the career System Strategy. But yeah, the the reason was kind of going across projects, not just one in particular. And then results that surprised us? I think we probably did all have things that surprised us a little bit. And yeah, I think for me one maybe was that that costs barriers and confidence barriers are equal, and I think we sort of mentioned that yeah, TEC plays a lot in trying to reduce cost barriers or address cost barriers through things like Fees Free. But yeah, knowing that confidence from learners perspective was as common, a barrier was quite interesting. I'm not sure if the others wanna jump in on surprising.


Yeah, I, I think I definitely think the confidence thing was a massive surprise for me as well. I didn't realize how much of an impact cost, um confidence, would be having on the decision, so that was as big of a barrier as cost, which was just I think was like really wow. And then yeah, at that point about sort of making decisions that don't really align with your version of success. So learners really needing decision-making skills because they're leading to outcomes that don't really align to what they want, which is actually a really interesting finding. I think for me as well.


So all right? I think that's a really great place to wrap up, so I'm really sorry if I haven't got to any of your questions, but we will go through them and come back to you individually after this session.

So thank you all for a really great session, we are so pleased to see that everyone else is as interested and excited about this work as we are! Please do get in touch if we can support your mahi further.

I have a karakia to close, please join me (on mute) in the last line, or more if you know it. 


Unuhia, unuhia 

Draw on, draw on, 

Unuhia ki te uru tapu nui 

Draw on the supreme sacredness 

Kia wātea, kia māmā, te ngākau, te tinana, te wairua / i te ara takatā 

To clear, to free the heart, the body and the spirit of mankind 

Koia rā e Rongo, whakairia ake ki runga 

Rongo, suspended high above us  

Kia tina! TINA! Hui e! TĀIKI E! 

Draw together! Affirm!