Career development – Year 7 and 8

Learn how teaching career management competencies helps Year 7 and 8 students manage their life, learning and work, and assists them with decisions at key transition points. Find out how all teachers can contribute to career development through a school-wide approach.

Teach career management competencies

Two children stand in front of a school garden

Career development helps students connect competencies to real life situations

Career development can help Year 7 and 8 students manage the transition to secondary school. At this stage, students are already developing an early sense of “career” through their existing and aspirational life, learning and work roles.

Career development helps students link ideas about preparation, exploration, self-awareness and decision making to real life situations – including transitions to, through and from school.

Career management competencies

As students develop their career awareness they become aware of the link between education and work and the role of lifelong learning, and understand that people's skills are built up over time because of learning and experience. The career management competencies dimension of the benchmarks outlines four attributes students should have developed to successfully transition to secondary school:

  • developing self-awareness – students increase their awareness of their strengths and interests and how they relate to others. They see themselves positively, demonstrating a hopeful picture of themselves in the future
  • exploring opportunities – students explore adult roles in their communities and the range of occupations that contribute to the products and services people use in their daily lives, and demonstrate optimism that they will do the same in the future
  • deciding and acting – students develop transferable skills in research, goal setting, evaluating options and reaching decisions
  • transitions – students become aware of the style and nature of secondary schools and are prepared for this transition.

Adopt a school-wide approach

High-quality career development that engages students is embedded within the school's curriculum.

It is provided through a school-wide integrated approach, where links are made between the student career management competencies, other curriculum areas and the key competencies.

Career development programme content is reviewed, evaluated and improved to ensure the needs of all students are being met to support successful engagement in school and transition to the secondary school environment.

Having a school-wide, integrated approach to career development means all staff:

  • recognise career development is a shared responsibility
  • contribute to career development within the school.

To support a school-wide approach, schools need to have:

  • strong vision and support from the board, principal and senior management
  • an across-school careers team to set up systems and evaluate career education
  • career activities planned in advance for career-related events in students' lives
  • ongoing promotion and communication around careers and sharing of information
  • planned and sustainable development of career development programmes across curriculum areas and pastoral networks
  • professional development and support for teachers.

Evaluating your career development programme

It is important to focus on career management competencies when evaluating your career development programme. 

The career development benchmarks for Year 7 and 8 outline the career management competencies students need for successful transition to secondary school.

Case study from a school with Year 7 and 8 students

Tairangi School, Porirua

Tairangi School demonstrates how to weave career development into the curriculum through connected and contextualised learning, using the digital space.

Key messages from Tairangi School's career development:

  • links can be made between career management competencies, curriculum subject areas and key competencies
  • it is important to connect students' skills, opportunities and aspirations with related careers
  • career development can be incorporated into all topics and curriculum areas.

Video: Connecting self, skills and work – Year 7 and 8 career education in the New Zealand classroom

Connecting self, skills and work – Year 7 and 8 career development in the New Zealand classroom – 10.12 mins.

Read a transcript of the video

The video shows how Tairangi School have integrated career development within the curriculum. These worksheets are examples of ways to link careers to classroom activities.

Updated 3 May 2018