Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's police reporter.

Teens look to land of opportunity

Fifty-five per cent said they believed Australia had the most job opportunities. Photo / Getty Images
Fifty-five per cent said they believed Australia had the most job opportunities. Photo / Getty Images

More than half of Auckland high school students think they have a better shot at employment by going to Australia than staying in New Zealand, a survey says.

Of 800 to 1000 students polled at the Careers Expo at ASB Showgrounds yesterday, 55% said they believed Australia had the most job opportunities. Auckland was seen as the second best location with 16.3 per cent, followed by Asia (7.5 per cent), and Christchurch (6 per cent)..

The findings come despite statistics showing the number of Kiwis leaving for Australia was at a three-year low, figures attributed to increased economic growth at home and a lack of social support for those living across the Tasman.

Expo director Mark Gillard said the survey should "ring alarm bells" for New Zealand employers and parents.

"To see that Australia has greater appeal to youth at this early stage reveals that there is a communication gap between business and the future workforce, a gap that needs to be addressed," he said.

"They are not getting the message from New Zealand industry that the opportunities are as good here now or getting better."

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce said the view of Australia shown in the survey was an "out of date perception" that was already starting to shift.

Australian growth was decreasing, migration was slowing and more Kiwis were returning.

Employment and Manufacturers Association spokesman Gilbert Peterson said students needed to be matched to areas of demand.

He said "boom times" were returning to New Zealand and there was high demand for skilled employees in building, construction, manufacturing, health, IT and food processing.

"We need to get on and promote the types of careers that are available for our young people because their skills and initiative are going to be in great demand.

"The careers expo itself is an indication of the sort of work we need to do and it's to be applauded, we need to do more of that sort of thing."

Secondary Principals Association vice-president Sandy Pasley, who is head of Baradene Catholic girls' college in Remuera, said a new Ministry of Education programme, Vocational Pathways, was being introduced to schools to help guide students into career paths.

Mr Gillard praised the programme, and said a focus of the expo was to match students' career aspirations to industry demand.

Career moves

Where Auckland high school students think the jobs are:

• Australia 55 per cent
• Auckland 16.3 per cent
• Asia 7.5 per cent
• Christchurch 6 per cent
• Elsewhere 14.8 per cent

Survey of between 800 and 1000 students attending the Auckland Careers Expo

- NZ Herald

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