Secondary school careers staff collaborate for change


As the world transforms from traditional organisational structures to modern structures – characterised by fewer boundaries and focusing more on collaboration – there are challenges seen arise from this structural change. Not surprisingly, New Zealand is facing similar changes and our schools are no exception, progressing from individual silos to partnerships, alliances, and collaborative approaches.

Currently, an issue recognised in schools here in the Western Bay of Plenty (WBOP) – and nationwide – is the missed opportunities due to inefficient external and internal engagement.

In November 2020, Priority One’s Andy Howells (Instep Manager), Ella Dunlop (Vocational Coordinator) and Liana Hulena (Student Intern, University of Waikato) invited careers staff from 11 local secondary schools in the WBOP to participate in data entry and to discuss in a workshop, the previous year’s events.

These two methods of information gathering promoted a collaborative approach and visibility between all schools involved. Careers staff from the 11 schools discussed what works, what needs improvement, what would be helpful and what is not helpful. Some topics raised amongst careers staff had recurring themes in which were recognised and immediately actionable for the schools and Priority One team.

Recently, a report was released to the stakeholders highlighting the findings, key themes, offering recommendations to see future success. They believe this research can call attention to the underrepresented target audiences as well as supporting the decision making and creation process of events based on evidence. This helps to determine what future events and actions may look like for secondary school students in WBOP from 2021 and beyond.

The project hopes to open a range of opportunities for students in WBOP to be welcomed to new or different events while reducing administrative duties and silos of individual schools.

A great thanks to the careers staff involved with this project: Natasha Kahle (Aquinas College), Anna Exelby (Bethlehem College), Gaylia Bundle (Katikati College), Jane Doherty (Mount Maunganui College), Sharee Hemingway-McGregor, Jocelyn Neal (Pāpāmoa College), Win Jones (Tauranga Boys’ College), Anne Marie Wilson (Tauranga Girls’ College), Aidan Salmon, Annie Mapp, Sonya Burggraaf (Te Puke High School), Whetu Marama Manihera (Te Wharekura o Mauao), Carolyn Graveson, and Rachael Hall (Waihi College).