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New NMIT degree first to equip future NZ career advisors

Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology’s (NMIT) new Bachelor of Career Development, the first degree of its kind to be offered in New Zealand, will provide its graduates with the core skills to advise people and help them achieve sustainable careers in our rapidly-changing working world.

The programme fills a need for coherent, structured, and planned education in career development that has been identified as lacking by Government, the education sector, and the career development industry itself.

The new degree will provide training needed by secondary teachers, career advisors, career coaches and anyone who advises people about their careers. It is relevant for anyone in an organisation who is responsible for the development of people within that organisation and provides high-quality professional development for anyone working in the rapidly-evolving area of career development.

The degree is offered online with two face-to-face weekend ‘noho’ or block courses each year.

“The programme’s online delivery means that people around New Zealand can combine studying towards their degree and working,” says Programme Coordinator, Dr Sarah Proctor-Thomson. “This degree is relevant for a wide range of learners, some of whom may have come from secondary school teaching but not had coherent, structured, or planned education in this field, and others who are already working in human resources or related fields.

“Currently, while there is professional development for career counsellors in schools, it’s often ad hoc and fragmented. This programme recognises the need for a more consolidated education offering.”

People with existing degrees in other subject areas may be able to pathway into the programme from their other degree, which means that they may achieve a Bachelor in Career Development in less than three years.

The new programme has been enthusiastically received by professionals already working in the career development sector.

“Choosing and developing a career, is an increasingly challenging task as organisations and workplaces respond to a rapidly-changing external environment,” says Leigh Gray, Careers Advisor at Nelson College.

“Through studying the Bachelor in Career Development I will be able to develop my skills in designing programmes for students as well as developing structured career counselling processes and career coaching skills. Through the application of theoretical knowledge to my practice, I hope to facilitate effective career guidance for youth from diverse cultural backgrounds and I will be able to make a significant contribution to the profession of career guidance. My goal is to remain in career education and continue to offer “best practice” programmes and collaborate with other practitioners to develop a more consistent approach to career education in New Zealand.

“I support the Labour Government initiative to professionalise the industry by ensuring every high school will have highly trained, skilled careers advice teaching staff, working in partnership with education, industry, and training providers to support students from day one - guiding them through their decision-making about their future options.”

The Bachelor in Career Development programme has been put together to serve the future needs of Māori and non-Māori students and includes a career education paper and cultural communication paper with specific input from Māori, Pasifika, refugee, and migrant communities.

Gray believes this is particularly important. “By completing the degree and having time to reflect, I will be able to focus on further developing our school programme, specifically targeted at learning outcomes of both Maori and Pacifica students and students that are “at risk” of not achieving Level 2 who are often from low socio-economic backgrounds or have “special needs” - of which are the Ministry of Education’s priorities in education.”

The Bachelor in Career Development programme also has streams in education, business and coaching so that students can become skilled in the area where they want to build their career.

“For me this is a perfect programme,” says Dr Proctor-Thomson. “It combines understanding about social and human development, practical counselling and coaching skills, and up-to-date knowledge about employment and career theory.”

Teaching on the new programme begins on 26 February.

Enrolments are now open at

For more information about the programme go to:

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