Frequently asked questions – National Careers System Strategy

Ngā pātai auau – Te Rautaki Pūnaha Aramahi ā-Motu

Last updated 27 September 2023
Last updated 27 September 2023

We've compiled a list of frequently asked questions about the National Careers System Strategy.

What is a ‘career’?

We’ve defined ‘careers’ broadly for this work. The Strategy considers careers to include all paid and unpaid work, and all study and training that a person may do throughout their life. This recognises that the concept of a career is not the same for all people and all cultures. 

What is the careers system?

The careers system provides careers education, information, advice and guidance to support people to make careers decisions and transitions. 

At the core of the system is people’s capability to make effective careers decisions and transitions that align to their chosen pathways and aspirations.  

The careers system needs to balance the diverse needs of many stakeholders. It does this by:

  • showing the value in all work
  • respecting people's different aspirations and pathways
  • equipping people with the skills, knowledge, tools, support and confidence they need to make career decisions and transitions.  

Why was the National Careers System Strategy developed?

It’s a response to stakeholder calls for a government-led strategy to:

  • improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the national careers system
  • reflect economic and structural changes from COVID-19
  • align the careers system with other government priorities. 

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) led the Strategy’s development in collaboration with government partners and careers system stakeholders across the motu. 

The Strategy is the ‘north star’ for the careers sector and is designed to provide advice, support and guidance for anyone at any stage of their career. It’s designed to empower people to understand themselves and their aspirations, so they can navigate careers opportunities throughout all of life’s stages. 

What is TEC’s role in the Strategy?

TEC holds a leadership role in the careers system in Aotearoa New Zealand. As kaitiaki of the Strategy, TEC is responsible for leading and coordinating its implementation.

How was the Strategy developed?

First, we conducted a current-state assessment to develop an overall picture of the careers system, how it’s operating, where the gaps are, and what could be improved.

TEC then led the development of the Strategy, collaborating with more than 700 stakeholders, including government agencies, the careers workforce, education providers, business, Māori and other community representatives.

Throughout its development, the Strategy was reviewed and endorsed by the Education, Employment and Training (EET) Deputy Chief Executive Group, Chief Executive Group and Ministerial Group members.

It was approved by Cabinet in May 2023 and released by Education Minister Jan Tinetti on 28 August 2023. 

What are the Strategy’s key focus areas?

  • Strengthen Connections – establish a leadership function for the careers system to improve coordination and support stronger connections.
  • Grow Quality Careers Support – improve the quality and availability of careers support, and the diversity of those who deliver it.
  • Ensure Equitable Access – work collaboratively with Māori, Pacific people, disabled people and other priority groups to understand and remove barriers that prevent people and their whānau from accessing and using the careers system.

What is the vision for the careers system?

Developed by TEC, in collaboration with stakeholders, the vision for the National Careers System Strategy is:

“People are empowered to understand themselves and their aspirations and can navigate careers opportunities that fit throughout their lives.”

This is the future state we want to move towards.

The vision is supported by the following principles that provide a compass for all the mahi to come.

  • He Wātea ki te Tokomaha | Accessible: The careers system is available for everyone throughout their lives, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or ability.
  • He Kauawhi | Inclusive: The careers system is culturally affirming, incorporating Māori knowledge, tikanga and te ao Māori, as well as Pacific and other world views.
  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi | The Treaty of Waitangi: The careers system honours the partnership with Māori under Te Tiriti o Waitangi. 
  • He aro ki te tangata | People-centred: People are at the centre of the careers system, and their different pathways, and work and learning decisions, are respected.
  • Te Kounga | Quality: People accessing the careers system consistently receive quality careers education, information, advice and guidance.
  • He Urupare | Responsive: The careers system is responsive to changes in both the world of work and the wider environment.
  • He Tūhonohono | Connected: The careers system supports bringing people, iwi, communities, education institutions, employers and related systems together.

What are the next steps?

TEC will lead and coordinate the implementation of the Strategy's Action Plan (PDF 545 KB).

We’ll communicate regularly with the Strategy’s stakeholders via our newsletter, providing progress updates and opportunities to work together. You can sign up to receive the newsletter.


CEIAG: Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance.

Careers Education: Planned progressive learning experiences that help people develop careers management competencies that, in turn, help them manage their lives – including self-awareness, exploring opportunities, planning and acting.

Careers Information: Occupation and industry descriptions, information about employment trends and opportunities, courses, training and qualifications, and digital tools that help people who are seeking information or trying to make a career decision.

Careers Advice: An interaction between two or more people that helps someone move from a general to a specific understanding of realistic work, education and training options, and careers pathways.

Careers Guidance: An in-depth process that helps someone move from a general to a specific understanding of the options available for their career and lifestyle. Contains a mix of information, education and guidance to help people acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes that help them make better careers decisions and transitions.