Learning and working in the service industries

Find out about standards, opportunities and careers

What's the work like?

What kind of careers are found along this pathway?

If you’re a people person then this might be the industry for you. The service industry is so diverse and offers so many different opportunities. It’s a great sector to meet people from all walks of life, which will help you develop the communication and presentation skills needed to aid your career progress.  

The service industry covers hospitality, travel and tourism, hair and beauty, retail, sports and recreation, events, journalism, advertising, administration, and much more.

People in this sector are ambassadors for New Zealand, your role can have a great impact on people’s experience and perceptions of the country. If you enjoy travel, then there are a tonne of opportunities in this industry to work all over the country and even the world.

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Examples of jobs in this pathway include:

  • bartender, barista, chef, cook, housekeeper, kitchen hand, laundry, maintenance, hotel/motel manager, resort manager, receptionist, waiter/waitress, maître d’, event or conference manager
  • travel agent, tour bus operator, tour guide, ski instructor, administrator, marketer, salesperson, flight attendant, receptionist, customer services/customer relations, customs and border control officer
  • beautician, spa or massage therapist, hairdresser, barber, nail technician
  • retail assistant, supermarket assistant, retail store manager, window dresser
  • gym manager, personal trainer, fitness instructor
  • event organiser, journalist, news producer, member of the armed forces (air force, army, navy), advertising copy writer, customer representative, funeral director, printer, film making support, financial services support, legal services support, data entry operator/transcriptionist

Where might you end up?

In the service industry you can learn, grow, and really work your way up. There will often be opportunities for on-the-job training to help you progress. For example you could start off as a porter in a hotel and rise up the ranks to a supervisor, then manager before starting your own hotel. There are a lot of rewarding careers in this industry and it can often be a stepping stone to careers in other industries as the skills you gain are transferrable and valuable to many roles.

What's great about this industry?

And why is it important to New Zealand?

Experience in this industry can help you work and travel the world. You’ll meet and work with loads of interesting people and your work will have a lot of variety. There are lots of part-time opportunities in this sector which is great if you want to work whilst studying further. The skills you gain are highly transferable so you can progress in your career or into other industries quickly.

Roles in this sector can be truly inspirational, and at the top end you can earn very good money.  

Why is this sector important?

The service industries are hugely important to New Zealand, they bring in millions of dollars of overseas currency which means it’s a huge part of our economy. The people who work in this sector have a huge impact on visitors’ experiences of our country. Not only that, they meet the needs and aspirations of thousands of Kiwis.

Yep, this is me. How do I follow this pathway?

Plan a course and track standards for careers in this sector.

You’ll need NCEA level 2 as a minimum for entry level jobs or apprenticeships. This will give you a good foundation in the skills and knowledge needed to progress in a career in the service industries. For other roles you will need to further your education after school by undertaking tertiary study, or on-the-job training.

Assessment Standards tool

If you think this might be the industry for you then use our handy tool to identify the standards needed to create a pathway into the service industries. Filter by NCEA level, the industry pathway, and standards type.

Recommended assessment standards tool

Each standard describes what a learner knows, and can do. Achievement standards carry a number of credits, when achieved these are recorded on the centrally managed Record of Achievement.

All standards included in particular Vocational Pathways are recommended. A sub-set of these recommended standards are also identified as sector-related, you can use the filter to see these. You don’t need to do all of the standards listed in the results. However, if you gain enough credits from the standards we recommend, then you are gaining the skills, knowledge, and competencies that are most important to employers in this industry.

If these are the subjects you enjoy, and these are the sorts of standards that you tend to do well in, then you should definitely consider roles in the service industries as a possible career option. There are lots of opportunities and a wide range of jobs at many different levels.

If your NCEA level 2 includes 60 credits from recommended standards, including at least 20 credits from sector-related standards, you can have service industries recognised as your Vocational Pathway.

Vocational Pathways Award

Learners can work towards the Vocational Pathways Award too, which is recorded on their Record of Achievement (NZQA).

Vocational Pathways Award

Record of Achievement