Build careers teams

Learn more about the key responsibilities of a careers lead team, and how you can build one at your school.

How to structure careers teams

Three possible careers teams exist in a school, each with different roles and responsibilities:

  •  the lead team
  •  the department team
  •  the delivery team.

All schools should have a lead team and a delivery team, but they may not have a separate department team. If there is no department team, their responsibilities will rest with the lead team.

Careers lead team

A careers lead team is responsible for:

  • leadership
  • accountability 
  • policy 
  • planning and review 
  • capacity and capability.

A careers lead team includes :

  • the career development specialist
  • senior management representative
  • department /team leaders or representatives
    expert staff.

Careers department team

A careers department team is responsible for:

  • programme design
  • management and records
  • professional support
  • resources
  • building community links and partnerships.

A careers department could include staff with formal responsibilities, such as:

  • career development specialist/leader
  • STAR and Gateway co-ordinators
  • deans
  • careers administration/support staff.

Careers delivery team

A careers delivery team is responsible for:

  • teaching and learning
  • access to information
  • advice and guidance
  • engaging family and whānau.

A careers delivery team includes all school staff who play a part in delivering defined, planned programmes of career education. The size and structure of a careers delivery team will differ between schools, and team members' tasks will vary.

Building a delivery team involves engaging the most appropriate teaching staff at the most appropriate moments during the career-related events in students' lives. The delivery team must be given sustained professional development and support, and quality information systems that are easily accessible.

What does an effective careers team look like?

To be effective, a careers lead team needs:

  • a shared understanding of its roles and responsibilities
  • a focus on whole-school communication and relationship management
  • an evidence-driven, planned approach
  • authority and delegations to manage change
  • reliable access to all relevant information
  • time and resources (including budget), as well as secretarial and administration systems
  • reporting lines, times and deadlines.

Skills required in an effective careers lead team

 A careers lead team needs to draw on these skills to function well:

  • strategic thinking and vision – developing the big picture
  • engagement and relationship management – getting others on board
  • planning and doing – getting things happening
  • careers expertise – knowing what works
  • systems and data management – keeping and maintaining records
  • team leadership and facilitation – managing growth and change.


Tips for building a careers team

Try some of these tips for building your careers team:

  • Keep your core team small.
  • Ensure team members are enthusiastic about career education – they will be your champions.
  • Ensure your team leader has sound leadership skills.
  • Ensure everyone in the team has a sound understanding of career education – make this the first action to work on.
  • Consider temporary team membership – harness staff strengths by seconding staff to do specific tasks at particular times.

Updated 20 Jan 2017