Helping your young person match subjects, talents and interests to career ideas

Mother and daughter read a laptop screen

Finding a career for your young person is a matching game. Get tips on how to match talents, interests and strengths with career ideas.

Your young person’s career path starts at secondary school. The NCEA subjects they choose suggest where their passions are, but what they do outside of school can also reveal ideas for potential careers.

Ideally, you want your young person to find a job they’ll love, so here’s how to help them match their subjects, talents and interests with promising careers. 

Match subjects to potential careers

Encourage your young person to use our Subject Matcher tool to discover how their NCEA subjects fit with certain careers. Subject Matcher will help them:

  • discover job ideas based on subjects they enjoy
  • see how their subjects apply to a range of jobs
  • find out how different tertiary study options affect the jobs they can get. 

Check Vocational Pathways for career signals

Circular image showing the six vocational pathways: social and community services; manufacturing and technology; creative industries; construction and infrastructure; primary industries; and services industries.

The six vocational pathways

Vocational Pathways show the types of industries that might be suitable for your young person to work in once they leave school. There are six industries:

  • Creative industries
  • Construction and infrastructure
  • Manufacturing and technology
  • Primary industries
  • Service industries
  • Social and community services

Achieved NCEA standards are grouped and matched to particular industries. In your young person’s NCEA results you will see a graph highlighting which industries might be a good fit for them.

Use our jobs database to search for careers in these industries.

Match talents and interests to career ideas

Activities your young person excels at or wants to do in their spare time can suggest career possibilities. Are they good at motivating their teammates on a sports field? They may be good managers. Do they enjoy video games? They might be good game designers.

Sit down with your young person and make a list of their interests and what they are good at. Brainstorm the possible careers they could do based on these two lists.

Our jobs database can help here. Once you’ve brainstormed the careers, search our jobs database for them. Check out the skills and knowledge and personal requirements sections to see if these careers are a good match.

Updated 11 Jul 2023