I need to change my career or study

What to do if you want to change your career or study.

Do you need to change your career?

You might need a career change if you want to:

  • have a more challenging career
  • work in a new industry
  • find a job that fits with your values, home and community life, and interests
  • progress your career and have greater responsibility
  • earn more money.

You might also need a career change if:

  • you're being made redundant
  • your job is at risk of disappearing due to automation.

What you can do

Go through our career planning steps to find a new career.

Talk to a career adviser for guidance on what to do next.

Do you need to change your study or training?

You might need to change your study or training if:

  • you don’t enjoy it
  • you’ve chosen the wrong study or training for the career you want
  • you want a different career.

What you can do

Talk to a dean, career adviser, student adviser or apprenticeship adviser for advice.

Check out our job profiles to find the right course for your career.

Are you ready for a career change - exercise

Are you ready for a career change? Use our worksheet to work out the good and bad points about changing direction.

What to consider before you change

Changing careers can affect all areas of your life. Think about:

  • how your change will work with the commitments in your life such as sport, family/whānau and community life
  • how your change will affect your financial situation.

Options for career changers

A career change sometimes means retraining.

There are many options for people who want to retrain, including:

  • Recognition of prior learning and current competence – get credits towards university and polytechnic study from your work experience or previous qualifications
  • Distance learning and micro-credentials – work and study at the same time by distance or online learning
  • Fees-free study, student loans and scholarships  fund your study.

Learn about your study and training options.

Career change from mother to civil engineer - video


Find out how Sapoa Rimoni changed her career from mother to engineer - (3.00 mins).

Sapoa: My journey starts in 1988 a Pacific island girl in the land of Aotearoa.

My mother is a strong Tongan good woman and my father a hard-working Samoan man.

By the age of 21 I was married to the love of my life and we had two adventurous boys.

At this stage of my life I was living in a small unit in South Auckland and as a young mother I felt like my opportunities to have a career no longer existed.

Society was quick to label me as another statistic, but rather than accept a wallow in my less than ideal situation I felt motivated to make a change.

Of the little budget I had I began to renovate my small unit.

I was a newbie to the whole idea of fixing and creating at this scale.

I was accepted into a carpentry course and over a span of a year I learnt basic construction skills.

I have to say being the only female in a class full of males took a little getting used to.

I remember the first few weeks of class the guys would offer to hammer nails for me, lift things and so on and then we started getting results back in practical and theory work and I would get higher marks than some of the guys and that did not sit well with some of them.

I started to dream and it was at this time in my life I decided to pursue a career in civil engineering.

My aspiration set high I enrolled in a New Zealand diploma in engineering. My two years of study opened up a world of opportunities for me - at the end of my diploma I was picked up by Hawkins and offered a full-time job as a site engineer.

I couldn't believe it I'm actually doing it.

That spark that small spark is now turning into a flame.

Little did my parents know that leaving their home to seek out a better quality of life is my main drive as an engineer to provide that same quality of life to others and now I'm part of a team involved in incredible and diverse projects across the country.

As an engineer we have a social obligation to serve the world we live in. Everything that we design and make is for the user.

Engineers are the unseen people who make the world.

We are creative thinkers, problem solvers, and the need for our profession has never been greater.

My dream has become a reality where I have the power to make a difference to the world that I live in and that in itself motivates me every day to press on and aspire for a better future.

My name is Sapoa Rimoni. Help me make the world.


Updated 28 Nov 2019