Learning and working in the social and community service industries

Find out about standards, opportunities and careers

What's the work like?

What kind of careers are found along this pathway?

Jobs in this Pathway can be exciting, personally rewarding as well as physically and emotionally demanding. You could be helping people at the most critical times in their lives. What you do, and how you do it, matters deeply and can make a huge difference to their quality of life.

Whether you are working for the government or the private sector, you’ll be dealing with people of all ages and walks of life. You may find yourself in challenging, fast-changing situations which involve quick thinking and making decisions under pressure.

You’re likely to be part of a strong, committed team. Depending on your role, your working hours could include standard hours or shift work.

This Pathway includes a huge variety of careers.

Beauty and Nail Services

Roles could include, for example: nail technicians, nail artists, waxing specialists, eyebrow and eyelash technicians, cosmetic and beauty product company representatives, beauty clinic manager, account manager, spa therapist, spa manager, skin therapist, laser technician, epilation therapist, laser clinic manager, educator or trainer.

Civil Defence, Fire and Emergency Services

Includes, for example: civil defence emergency management, first aid, fire protection and other emergency services and emergency care – first response.

Education and Education Support Services

Includes, for example: early childhood education, primary education, secondary education, special school education, technical and vocational education, higher education, arts education and adult/community education.

Funeral Services

Includes, for example: funeral director, embalming, crematorium and cemetery services.

Health, Care and Disability Services

Includes, for example: hospitals, aged care services, residential care services, home care services, health care and health services, mental health and addiction services, dental services, Allied Health services, physiotherapy services, chiropractic and osteopathic services, ambulance services, pathology and diagnostic imaging services, aged care residential services, wellness and nutritional services, hearing therapy services, diversional therapy, community support services, Whānau Ora and community support.

Public Order Safety

Includes, for example: public order, safety and regulatory services, correctional and detention services, occupational health and safety services and workplace health and safety services.

Social Services

Includes, for example: social work, community work, counselling, Iwi/Māori social services, Whānau/family and foster care and Tamariki Ora – Well Child Services.

Urban Pest Management

Includes, for example: building pest control services and pest control services.

Youth Services

Includes, for example: youth work, youth development, Whānau/family and foster care.

Where might you end up?

This is an industry where you can continually develop and upskill. You can progress quickly if you are committed to your job and willing to do further study. As an example, you could start off as a support worker and work your way up to being a team leader, crew leader, or manager.

Choosing a career any social and community industry can also open doors to many roles in these and other sectors. Much of the core skills and experience you gain in one industry are transferable skills that are valued by others.  

What's great about this industry?

And why is it important to New Zealand?

This sector matters deeply and has a huge impact on many people at an individual level. It is a large and ever-growing sector and the jobs within it are essential for community well-being and safety.

The sectors that come into this vocational pathway are about the wellbeing of all people, including our most vulnerable. The demand for staff engaging with the youth and adults through to the elderly is always growing. There is also a constant demand for more police Corrections, immigration, customs and quarantine officers.

This is me. How do I follow this pathway?

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

NCEA Level 2 will provide you with a good foundation for success in entry level jobs or apprenticeships. You may need to first get University Entrance for other jobs. Use the Profile Builder to see how well your subject selection helps prepare you with skills and knowledge valued by industries and employers in this sector.

To make the most of your opportunities, you will then need to complete qualifications by undertaking further study and training. Whether you can do this while working (for example, as an apprentice) or need to study on-campus will vary depending on exactly what career you choose to focus on.