Drawing the Future

In 2019, children and young people from across New Zealand took part in an important national survey called Drawing the Future.

Students in primary and intermediate schools were asked to draw pictures of what they want to be when they grow up. Schools and students responded with enthusiasm in just a few weeks we received over 7,700 drawings.

The results show more than half of these students aspire to one of just nine most popular jobs.

The top nine jobs included sportsperson – way ahead at almost 18% – followed by vet, police officer, lecturer/ teacher, social media influencer, artist, doctor, army/navy/airforce/firefighter, and farmer.

The findings also revealed patterns of unconscious bias that can limit young people’s aspirations.

For example:

  • Boys were four times more likely than girls to aspire to be an engineer.
  • Girls were fourteen times more likely than boys to aspire to be a beauty therapist, make-up artist, hairdresser or barber.
  • Children at lower decile schools were less likely than children in higher decile schools to aspire to careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Less than 1% of young people knew about their preferred role from someone visiting their school from the world of work.

Inspiring the Future can broaden their horizons, and help challenge stereotypes that can limit their potential by bridging the gap between schools and the world of work.

You can be a role model for young people by sharing information about your job and how you got there at an in-school event. If they don’t hear stories like yours, they might never know how many possibilities are available.

Sign up to volunteer as a role model

Want to host an event at your school?

Complete the expression of interest form