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Drawing the future: exploring the career aspirations of New Zealand children

Career choice Youth Future of work New Zealand
Attachment Size
Drawing the future (report) 9.33 MB

Drawing the Future is a research project that explores children’s career aspirations and the influences that shape them. Available literature and findings from Drawing the Future internationally show that children and young people’s career aspirations form at a young age and can be predictive of study and employment-related choices they make as they grow up. Often, aspirations reflect a relatively small number of careers, with over half of children in different studies aspiring to one of ten or fewer specific occupations. This pattern reflects the exposure of children to a limited range of careers, often through the occupations of people they know, and visibility in different types of media. Aspirations can differ for different groups. Understandably, children’s aspirations do not tend to map on to predicted areas of future labour market demand, suggesting an opportunity for awareness-raising activities to shape the future workforce.

Key findings

  1. The most popular career aspirations include sportsperson, vet and police officer
  2. Children’s aspirations do not closely align with the future needs of the labour market
  3. New Zealand girls and boys aspire to a similar breadth of jobs, but there are certain occupations which are much more popular among girls than boys, and vice versa
  4. Aspirations vary for children from different ethnic groups
  5. Children from different school deciles show a similar breadth of aspirations but different patterns of popular aspirations



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