School Students

Support our call for employability training to be delivered to all high school students

YEA leads a systems change initiative to support the delivery of education to employment programmes in schools that will ensure all young New Zealanders thrive in the changing world of work.

We represent a network of youth employment programme providers, employers, educators, local government, and community members, who want the future workforce to be equipped with the skills needed to create strong communities and a robust economy.



High School education prepares young people for university entrance, and yet ...

One in five school leavers only achieve NCEA Level 1 or lower

60% of school leavers transition without University Entrance

82% of school leavers have work or caring responsibilities

70% of jobs require at least a restricted driver licence but only 24% of young job seekers aged 18-24 years old have a restricted or full licence

A lack of understanding how to navigate career pathways contributes to nearly one in four youth suffering from high levels of anxiety, fatigue and depression

The NEET (youth not in education, employment or training) rate increased in 2023 to 12.1%

Only 40.3% of high school students met the criteria for regular attendance at school

The YEA network has the expertise and experience to support the systems change


Skill shortages lead to community decline. For years we've been hearing that employers struggle to find staff with the right skills. Their businesses suffer as a consequence which leads to community decline. New Zealand businesses want employees who can ‘hit the ground running’. That typically means they can demonstrate 'soft skills' and have the right attitude to be trained in the technical skills required for the specific job. For young employees to do this, they need to be taught employability skills, be provided with good career guidance, and be supported into work.


Make a difference, join our network and help shape a better future for our rangatahi and New Zealand businesses. 




Employable me: Australian higher education and the employability agenda

  • 22 April 2024

This paper reports the strategic plans of Australia’s 42 operating universities to better understand the extent to which employability was embedded in each university’s strategic priorities and the ways in which employability was characterised in those plans. Our analysis suggests the need for Australian universities to take a more thoughtful and nuanced approach to graduate employability.

Annual Report on Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy and Child Poverty

  • 11 April 2024

The Annual Report sets out the progress towards the outcomes of the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy and on the CPRIs, and looks at changes in the Strategy outcomes for children and young people, from 2019/20, when the first Annual Report was produced, to 2022/23.

Career guidance, social inequality and social mobility: Insights from international data

  • 21 March 2024

This policy brief draws on evidence from the OECD Career Readiness project to explore the following questions: • How does socio-economic status shape the career development of young people? • How can schools challenge social inequality and enhance social mobility through guidance interventions?

Meeting the mental health needs of young New Zealanders

  • 15 February 2024

A more youth-focused, integrated, and coherent system of care is required to meet young people's mental health needs, says the Auditor-General in a new report.

Let's Get Accessible

  • 1 February 2024

Let’s Get Accessible: Disabled students’ experiences navigating the tertiary education system is a collaborative project between the Ministry of Education, National Disabled Students Association, Tertiary Education Commission, and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. The project gathered qualitative data on the lived experiences of disabled students in tertiary education.

TaiOHI Insights Report

  • 1 December 2023

In this report, we look at the past five years of data, and build on the themes of previous reports. Unfortunately, this five-year snapshot shows almost no shift in the experiences of exclusion and disadvantage in Aotearoa, with high rates continuing for some communities. While this paints a picture at the national level, more granular data is available providing deeper insights and green shoots.

Barriers to Diversity in the Aotearoa Tech Sector

  • 1 December 2023

This research report outlines the challenges underrepresented communities face in accessing careers and education in New Zealand’s tech sector. These include a lack of digital access for homes facing socioeconomic challenges, biased academic counselling, and a widespread lack of awareness within the tech industry of tāngata whaikaha and culturally specific needs.

Work Integrated Learning in Schools

  • 1 November 2023

From May – Nov 2023, ImpactLab partnered with the Ministry of Education to better understand the value of schools supporting students to positively transition from education to employment through Work Integrated Learning programmes.

Transitions from Secondary School

  • 1 August 2022

Transitions from Secondary School is a foundational piece of research about one of the key groups served by the TEC. It provides a deep and rich understanding of how school leavers decide what to do when they leave school.

The Architect of my Future

  • 1 September 2021

Exploring the future of work in Aotearoa, a collaborative project with Ohu Ahumahi and Tokona te Raki, delves into vital questions about workforce transformations and their impact on vocational education.

A driver licence helps young people into employment

  • 1 September 2021

By Wendy Robertson, National Director, Driving Change Network. Statistics show, that without a licence people can become reliant on the welfare system, miss out on employment opportunities and risk ending up in the legal system due to licence breaches as they have not progressed through to their Full licence.

STEM Skills and the future of work

  • 1 September 2021

By Ying Yang, STEM Alliance Aotearoa. In September 2021, roughly 45% of jobs filled in Aotearoa were in STEM-related fields. These jobs span a diversity of work across healthcare, engineering, technology, design, computing, agriculture, and more. In fact, STEM is one of the fastest-growing areas of work. There are predicted to be many STEM jobs in the future that haven’t even been invented yet!

Evidence of non-economic indicators as markers of success for youth in youth employability programs

  • 1 November 2020

Evidence of non-economic indicators as markers of success for youth in youth employability programs: Insights from a South African study

Transitions into work for young people with complex needs

  • 1 June 2020

Transitions into work for young people with complex needs: a systematic review of UK and Ireland studies to improve employability

The New Work Standard

  • 1 June 2020

FYA’s seventh and last report in the New Work Order series, The New Work Standard, investigates what part-time, casual, self-employed and gig work – or flexible work – means for young people and their career trajectories. The report identifies the trends in flexible work for young people, including a rapidly growing gig economy, and the risks and opportunities this work presents.

Earning, learning, and access to support

  • 1 March 2020

Earning, learning, and access to support: The role of early engagement in work, employment skills development and supportive relationships in employment outcomes for vulnerable youth in New Zealand

Drawing the Future: Exploring the career aspirations of New Zealand children

  • 1 February 2020

The Tertiary Education Commission held a national survey for Drawing the Future in October 2019, where students in Years 3-to-8 were asked to draw a job they want to do when they grow up. The research format and methodology is based on the original survey conducted in the UK and adapted for the New Zealand context.

Te Matapaeroa 2019 - Looking toward the horizon: some insights into Māori in Business

  • 1 January 2020

To get a better picture of the contribution of Māori to the wider economy, Te Puni Kōkiri commissioned research on the scope of economically significant Māori-owned businesses.

Not Just About Neets

  • 1 May 2019

In late 2018, the Ministry of Education, with the support of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, commissioned an evidence review to determine how to improve interventions for young people who are likely to experience poorer than average employment over their lifetime. The resulting report proposes a broader definition of limited employment.

Post-school Labour-market Outcomes

  • 1 August 2018

Post-school labour-market outcomes of school-based NCEA report presents some basic statistics on what happens to school leavers in the first few years after school, and what difference school-based NCEA makes on post-school labour market outcomes.

Hidden Links, New Opportunities

  • 1 August 2018

You often hear that businesses struggle to find staff with the right skills; they just want people who can ‘hit the ground running’. For prospective employees to do this, they need the ability to communicate to the employer the right mix of skills, attitudes and capabilities. The employer also needs to be able to recognise, and have confidence in, the skills being offered.

Attitude Gap Report

  • 1 April 2016

A multi-agency skills and employment challenge led by the Auckland Co-Design Lab exploring the importance of work-ready youth and youth-ready employers throughout the employment journey.