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School Connect Blog

Introducing SchoolConnect's Careers Week: 28th July

SchoolConnect are excited to announce the launch of their Careers Week occurring the week of the 28th July.
SchoolConnect, in association with Business New Zealand, will be hosting a series of activities during careers week including live online employer Q & A sessions for secondary school students to engage directly with employers. 

This is a great opportunity to clarify any questions you may have in regards to employment, degrees, the NZ job market etc. 
We suggest you make a note of this week in your diary as it is an opportunity not to be missed! 

Further Information about how you can participate will follow shortly. 

Introducing SchoolConnect's Careers Week: 28th July

The Government Helping Make Career Choices Easy?

The New Zealand government has been providing several pieces of research on suggested career paths New Zealand secondary school students should be considering when leaving school, both those requiring study and those that don't.

One covered by Stuff is a report created by the Ministry of Business and Innovation. The Occupation Outlook report provides information about what careers are going to be in demand, the different levels of salary and the costs involved in obtaining the qualifications required for that career path.

These reports are interesting as they are current pulse of the job market, looking at what the shortages have been and the best estimates of what the shortages will be. Does this suggest that students should consider moving into a career they are not interested in order to meet economic needs? Will a student who studies a subject they are not driven to succeed in be successful? 

There are risks in providing this information. It needs to be a carefully managed process to ensure people are not discouraged from studying a subject they love or striving for a career they have dreamt of. Steven Joyce is the perfect example of where you can go with a non mainstream degree... Zoology to Member of Parliment, owning a media company along the way.


The Government Helping Make Career Choices Easy?

Next Step Magazine Issue 3


The much awaited third issue of Next Step magazine is hot off the press and winging it's way to schools all around the country!

As always, this issue of NextStep is jam-packed with interesting careers stories from young people and their employers from all over New Zealand. 

This issue, we talk to people working in horticulture, accounting, human resources, IT, health, customer service and logistics to name a few. We've also got insight into a range of different study options and leadership opportunities.

You can check out the latest issue of Next Step here.

If you'd like a copy or two for yourself or your school, send us an email at


Next Step Magazine Issue 3

Warehouse introduces ‘Career Retailer Wage’

New Zealand’s most renowned retailing company, The Warehouse, has announced that thousands of staff will receive pay increases in a bid to encourage them to take up retailing as a career option. The increase will be introduced to staff working at its three main companies: The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationary and Noel Leeming – who was recently bought by The Warehouse last year. The Warehouse employs about 7,000 staff, and spent $169.4 million on employee expenses in the first half of the year, or about 15 per cent of its $1.11 billion revenue. Staffs who are eligible will receive increases of their wage to around $18.50 and $20 per hour, which would be an extra $50 to $100 per week.

Mark Powell, CEO of The Warehouse group, said the company’s action to lift wages would cost an extra $2 million to $2.5 million in 2014 and 2015 respectively. However, the move would not impact too much on company profits, due to increased team engagement, lower team turnover, improved sales and higher productivity. In order to qualify for the career retailer wage, staff must have completed all required training levels, have 3 years experience at the company or logged more than 5000 hours. Therefore would encourage people looking to work at The Warehouse to stay on for longer terms.

The whole idea of introducing the new wage is to help sway people into choosing a career with The Warehouse Group. This would definitely be a great opportunity for students who are leaving school and are unsure of what to do, as it will encourage them to take up retailing as a career and also thrive on the benefits it produces; i.e increased wage.

The first stage of the wage increase will begin at the start of August this year and the second in August next year.

Obtained from and NZ herald


Warehouse introduces ‘Career Retailer Wage’

Welcome to SchoolConnect

SchoolConnect is the product of an idea, determination, setbacks, good moments and one massive juggling act of time.

SchoolConnect has been designed and built purely with secondary school students in mind. It is a resource to help every secondary school student in New Zealand look at, evaluate and compare the different options available when leaving school.

We have spoken to numerous students, teachers, careers councillors, companies, universities, polytechs, industry training organisations and companies along the way. From these discussions SchoolConnect was born.

SchoolConnect will change, evolve and improve over time as information is updated and added, as more functionality is built, as we talk with more students finding out exactly what is needed at this crucial stage in life!

Let us help you decide what you do next, no matter if you want to Work, Study or Travel the world.

If you have any ideas or suggestions please let us know! We want all the feedback we can get so email us at with your thoughts.




Welcome to SchoolConnect

How To: Write a cover letter

Having a good CV is great, but often employers expect you to have a cover letter to go with it.

Think of your CV like a fact sheet. Without a little bit of explanation it doesn’t really show people who you really are beyond your work experience, school and extra curricular activities. If your CV is a fact sheet about you, then you can think of your cover letter as the actual application for a job.

Your cover letter should be no longer than one page, and should be simple and to the point.

Focus on how the employer can benefit from you and your skill set, as opposed to focussing on yourself. Use sentences like “I believe *Skill A* could be of great use when working within the team environment that you have at *Employer*”.

Look for key words in the job ad that tell you what kind of person the employer is looking for. Take the ones that apply to you and explain how you have displayed/learnt these qualities. For example, if the employer is looking for someone with confidence and who is responsible, explain to them how you are confident and responsible (only if you are of course!) and how you can apply these traits at work.

For your layout, keep it basic, but formal. Be sure to include the employers name and address. 

For help laying out your cover letter, check out our template here.

How To: Write a cover letter

5 Tips to landing your Dream Job

We all know how hard it is to get your dream job, let alone a job. We have found an article on the NZ Herald that has provided some tips from Garry Collier, owner and partner at EDGE Recruitment, on how to get your dream job. These tips may be simple, but are extremely effective and may be the difference between you getting your dream job and missing out all together. Below we have extracted from the article, 5 tips, that Garry Collier thinks is very important when going through the application process.


5 Tips

  • Be prepared: Research a company and the job you're going for, make sure you understand if the opportunity is right for you.
  • Interview well: Be well presented, it is your opportunity to sell yourself and show them what you can bring to the table. Interview tactics have evolved, and employers are likely to ask questions relating to situations you have been in, as well as the skills and experience you have.
  • Ask questions: People want to know about you, but they also want to know you are interested.
  • Close the deal: Find out how you did and what the next step is, ask if they need more information from you and when you can expect to hear back.
  • Seek opportunities: Jobs are advertised in a variety of places across a range of mediums. Look everywhere and make yourself available on sites such as LinkedIn, as well as following companies you want to work for through their own websites or publications.


5 Tips to landing your Dream Job

Geeking Out

This week Monday to Friday has been Career Week at Each day covered a different theme detailing five different groups of New Zealand industries. Friday's articles relate to Information Technology and Telecommunications – the so-called ‘geek’ industries.

Statistics New Zealand’s Household Labour Force Survey for the quarter ending September (2013) showed that the number of people employed in New Zealand increased by 1.2% over the last quarter. Employment has risen 2.4% on the last year. These figures suggest steady improvement in the labour market. Good news for school leavers and Graduates!

Even better news for those entering into the IT industry – Stuff reported that skilled IT workers are so sought after that salaries have surpassed those of doctors positions advertised on Trade Me. IT jobs account for over 15% of jobs listed on, and Careers NZ outlines a number of IT jobs that are currently on New Zealand’s skill shortage lists.


Make the most of the skills shortage

Studying Software Engineering or Computer Science is the traditional route into IT. However, people who have studied Engineering, Science and Business studies can also find job opportunities. IT is applied in a wide range of different industries, so it is important to understand how to apply technical skills to customers.

While qualifications are important, some companies have been known to hire people who do not hold a degree, but who have excellent practical skills. These are the sorts of people who code and create for the love of it.


Geeking Out

Setting up for career success

Sally Graham, Careers Advisor extraordinaire from Hillcrest High School gives some of her advice for getting through the careers journey.

Spend time 'career window-shopping' 

What jobs could suit you?  What training/study is needed?  Are scholarships available to pay study fees? Are particular school subjects required? What is the pay?  Find out through internet, info presentations, talking with careers advisors and people already in the jobs, Gateway/work placements, Trades Academies and taster courses. These all provide opportunities to ‘try before you buy’.


If there is a compulsory subject required for tertiary study, it will usually be in a Science, English-rich or Maths area

While most tertiary courses can be undertaken with no specific subject background, you can keep options open by continuing with the above as long as you are able.


Employers will pay for your skills  

Job-specific skills are gained through on-job training and/or study at polytech, university or a private training provider.  However, many ‘soft’ skills, eg communication and teamwork, can be gained through part-time and voluntary work, involvement with sports, community or cultural groups and hobbies.  


Get to know the job market

Maximise job opportunities by training in a field with skill shortages.  Determination, however, can go a long way in fields with limited opportunities. 


Don’t despair if plans are unclear when you leave school  

Take a 'gap' experience to further explore.   Consider full/part-time work, part time study, travel, voluntary work and free Youth Guarantee courses.


You will be paid to work when you get a job

There will be boring/challenging stuff at times, no matter how suitable the job is.


Career plans do change  

Many factors influence careers, from government policy, technology advances and global trade to life events and plain luck.  Your skills, learning and experiences can be drawn on, transferred and built upon as the situations change.


Setting up for career success

Next Step Magazine Issue 4

The latest issue of Next Step magazine is out and full of another great variety of stories from young people paving their way in their careers. 

Check out out by clicking on the cover!














Next Step Magazine Issue 4

Next Step Magazine Issue 5

The latest issue of Next Step Magazine is now out, with another great set of careers stories and advice. 

Check out the online version here or visit your school's careers services for a copy. 

Highlights of this issue include:

  • "On the Set of Your Future" - making it as a Director with Weltec
  • "Doing Good - Better!" - making a difference with Teach First NZ
  • "Digitise your talents in the marketplace" - how to use your digital skills to land you a job with Careers NZ
  • "What's the Buzz on Beekeeping" - exploring apiculture with Comvita
  • "Xero in on your career" - how one young grad used his love of coding at school to land a job with Xero


Next Step Magazine Issue 5

Next Step Magazine Issue 6

Hot off the press is the sixth edition of Next Step magazine!

We're chuffed with another great magazine, which can be expected in schools from the 10th of October. If you or your school hasn't received copies, please get in touch with us.

Highlights of this issue include:

  • Opportunities for those interested in a career in wood manufacturing
  • Insight into mechanical apprenticeships
  • A sneak peek at what goes on behind the scenes at 
  • Moving an agricultural career beyond the farm
  • An interesting look at what sectors employers are hiring their young workers from, with a spotlight on the ICT industry.
  • Your survival guide for finding your way after high school
  • where a Chartered Accountancy qualification can take you

and much, much more!

We're also launching a second edition of Careers Week in late October. Keep your eyes peeled for dates and our live chat timetable!

Happy reading!

Next Step Magazine Issue 6

Tips Leading up to Exams

With NCEA exams starting up soon it’s time to start thinking about preparation and exam essentials. Below are a few tips to get you through end of year exams:
Struggling to remember study material?
You need to actively engage with the content you want to learn, reading it alone is simply not enough! By engaging with the content you need to learn, your brain is actively doing something with the information. How do you go about this? Try re-writing your notes, condensing parts of information into small sentences, acronyms or even diagrams.
Do you need to remember names and formulas?
Sometimes the specific details can be the hardest to recall when you are sitting in a room full of people at a small desk with only a few hours to put pen to paper. A tip for this is to create post-it-notes with your formulas and stick them around the house, on your mirror, in the shower, anywhere that you might find yourself spending time. Stick them on the ceiling of your room to read before bed if you have to! (Note: this may require larger writing).
Take plenty of breaks and reward yourself!
Studying can be intense and well a bit of a struggle. But it doesn’t have to be, with a plan in mind, make sure you take time out whilst studying. The general advice for breaking whilst studying is to get outside, do some exercise, eat brainfood and drink lots of water. When really you should be taking breaks to do something you find rewarding. For example; spend 40 minutes learning trigonometry and 10 minutes watching YouTube videos, the idea is to bring an element of relaxation and casualty to studying. Do what works best for you!
Ask for help
Your teachers, classmates and even parents can help you if you are stuck. Don’t just rely on Google, if you don’t really understand something or don’t have enough ideas to form an essay, ask around. Your teachers have helped students throughout the years with NCEA exams so they are the best to talk to for inside information into what the actual exam could be.

Tips Leading up to Exams

This student budgeting guide will stop you from blowing your student loan



Check out Char Mulin’s tips to help you budget with your student loan!


There are few things that test your self-control more extremely than receiving an allowance from study link. There you were, living in near poverty for what felt like eons. Then behold! The student loan gods decide to bless you with a saving grace. A hefty (maybe not do hefty) sum of cash lands in your pocket, and threatens to wipe your memory of the humbling experience of living off BBQ Chicken Migorengs for the past week.

I’m here to bring you back to reality and remind you that sometimes you need money for important things. You know, like rent? Groceries? Living? Luckily, I’ve whipped up some steps to help you budget and ensure you don’t perpetuate the cycle of exorbitant spending that rapidly descends into self-loathing destitution.


Step one: Put your rent aside first

For some inexplicable reason, landlords and accommodation services don’t like it when you don’t pay them your rent. It’s a harsh world we live in, having to offer financial services simply to avoid perishing in a field somewhere, but what can you do.

Having a savings account with a direct debit to immediately transfer your rent upon your installment saves you a lot of hassle, and it’s out of the way so fast it won’t even devastate you that much. Then you just pretend that your savings are guarded by a ravenous dragon, and if you touch them, all of your friends will perish. Like in The Hobbit.


Step two: Put away emergency funds as well

THAT’S RIGHT, MORE SQUIRRELING AWAY! God, isn’t this so fun? Bills are different from rent in that they loom over you more ominously; you know you’ll be slapped with one at some point, but you don’t know when or for exactly how much, and every time you hear the post come in you’re consumed by fear of the bomb waiting for you inside an envelope from the power company.

It’s best to be prepared for the worst, so think rationally about how much you’re realistically going to be charged, safely place it away, and guard the heating with totalitarian dedication.


Step three: Calculate how this can last you

This step requires a bit of math, something we all vowed we’d never need upon leaving secondary school. Unless, like, you’re doing a Maths degree or something, in which case go you.

I know the excitement of one installment of your student loan is almost too easy to blow, but find out when your next one will be, and calculate how much you can spend per week with the remaining amount you have. No matter how abysmally tiny this amount may seem, I promise that you will manage, which leads me nicely onto the fourth step…


Step four: Set yourself a food budget

It’s so easy to just follow all your hedonistic impulses when food shopping and sweep everything that looks vaguely delicious into your basket. But honestly, following a food budget is just as satisfying, if not more so.

Dedicate a reasonable amount of your weekly allowance to food, and don’t go overboard when you’re in the store. Plan meals beforehand. Go for basic instead of name-brand. Eat more fresh food. It’s surprisingly rewarding following some sort of structure. Your blood sugar will thank you alongside your wallet.


Step five: Write things down

Okay, I’m an obsessively organised person, so I don’t know if this is a weird habit or not, but I write down everything I spend. It’s easier to adhere to my weekly allowance if I do so, and I can loosen or restrict my spending habits per day depending on how I’m doing.

Too many of us fall into the habit of thinking that debit payments don’t really count, that the money’s only gone in an abstract sense, so this is a way to cut down on excessive splurges since you can physically see the effect of your actions.


Step six: Treat yo self (to an extent)

Even if you only have $3 left of your weekly budget, you should always try and do something nice for yourself. It could just be getting something from Starbucks, or maybe even a pair of new sneaks. As long as you have enough leftover at the end of the week, you should totally treat yourself.

Budgeting doesn’t have to mean sacrificing all material pleasure and living the life of a monk. Being conscientious with your money is hard work, so you deserve a reward every now and then. Prepare for the moment, and don’t think about the crushing debt you’ll be saddled with once you graduate.

This student budgeting guide will stop you from blowing your student loan

5 questions to ask in a Job Interview





Ah the dreaded question at the end of an interview...... “Do you have any questions for me?” This is definitely a question you can (and should) prepare for no matter what the role. Asking a good, smart question shows your interest in the role, may help you decide if you actually want the job and possibly secure a job offer from the employer. Below are a few questions that you could consider asking at your next job interview:



“What does a typical work week look like for someone in my position?”

Finding out what kind of work-life balance you are in for is important in deciding whether you are the right fit for the role. If working late hours or being required to work weekends is not your thing. If you prefer structured weeks, goal setting and daily guidance. These are things to consider in order to know what you are in for.



“What do you think would be my biggest challenge in this role?”

Each role will have its challenges. Often employers hire staff who can mange these challenges and bring in solutions to improve the efficiency of the business. By identifying what the problems are and comparing them to your skills and your ability to mitigate challenges the employer will be able to see you are the right fit for the role.



“What concerns/reservations do you have about me for this position?”


Often it is hard to interpret exactly what your interviewer is thinking. To get a better understanding of how your interview has gone and whether the employer thinks you are suitable for the role, ask about any concerns they may have. For example a concern of theirs might be that you are unreliable due to other commitments you may have. Finding this out will allow you to better define what hours you are and are not available to work.




“What kind of training and progression opportunities are there?”

Going in to a role it is important to know what opportunities will be made available to you. How will your role progress over the next two years? Will I be involved in any training or study? What skills should I expect to build on? 

5 questions to ask in a Job Interview