Leaving school, tertiary education and work

... or going to university – or doing an apprenticeship! The thought of leaving school and heading out into the big wide world to university or work can be exciting – but also a little scary or overwhelming. 

Hopefully your school may have been helping you think about transitioning from school to a university or towards getting a job for a while now. Your parents or caregivers will be keen to help too, and guess what – even the government of NZ is keen to help you find work! 

The good news is that with the right support it is perfectly possible for you to achieve your goals. And there are plenty of very nice people out there who know it's going to be a bit harder for you to move towards your goals, and who are keen to help you make it work.

Finding a job – the right job for you

Around New Zealand there are some great Transition Programmes – these are all about helping you to move into employment, community services or other activities. They'll work with you, your family/whānau and your school to make the transition to adult life as easy as possible. Your planning will involve working through setting goals and developing skills and experiences to lead a purposeful and productive life after school. If you're already working, but want a different job, they can help with that, too.

There are some listed below, but there will be others in your area. 

National offices

Ministry of Social Development

There is general information on finding work, as well as self-development programmes, on the MSD page here.

If you have a disability or health condition (including a mental health condition or neurodiversity such as FASD), and you want to work, you can apply to join one of the MSD's 'Mainstream' programmes. They can help support you towards getting a long-term job. 

Mainstream programme

Workbridge – all over NZ

Workbridge has centres all over Aotearoa NZ – they work with you to figure out what kind of job you want and how to focus on your skills, not your disabilities.

Workbridge | Building a bridge over employment barriers

Emerge Aotearoa

This group have offices around the country and offer all kinds of helpful services including help with employment. 

Click here for more info.

CCS Disability Action

Also with offices around the motu, CCS Disability action can help with all kinds of things including finding a job and transitioning. Look for an office in your area.

Click here for more info.

APM - national offices

APM's Work Assist Health programme will help assess you for work, find a job and liaise with employers on your behalf. 

Employment Services for NZ Job Seekers - Let Us Help You Find a Job | APM NZ 


Regional offices

Spectrum Care – Auckland and Wellington

Spectrum Care is based in Auckland with a branch in Wellington and can help with all kinds of respite care / holiday programms as well as transitions into work and housing.

Transition Support from school to work - Spectrum Care

Kia Roha / Your Way - Kirikiriroa / Hamilton

Transition Programme - from school to adult life.

Click here for more info.

Enrich Services – Waikato, Bay of Plenty and King Country – based in Te Awamutu

Supporting teens to find work.

Click here for more info.

Catapult Services - Canterbury

Catapult’s vision is for all people to have the opportunity to participate in paid employment, including those who live with a disability or health issue. They support employers, too. 

Click here for more info.


Off to University?

If you're transitioning into tertiary education, all universities and other tertiary institutions in NZ have whole departments to look after students who may need learning support. Make use of them as much as possible! Click on the names of the Universities below to go to their disability support pages.

The University of Auckland Disability Support Services

Email: [email protected]


Manukau Institute of Technology Disability Support Services

Email: [email protected]


AUT Auckland University of Technology Disability Support Services

Email: [email protected]


Auckland Unitec Disability Support Services

Email: [email protected]


Victoria University of Wellington Disability Services

Email: [email protected] 


University of Canterbury Disability Services

Email: [email protected]


University of Otago Disability support

Email: [email protected]


Massey University Disability services

Email: [email protected] (same for all campuses)

Phone Auckland Campus: 09 213 6203

Phone Palmerston North Campus: 06 951 6171

Phone Wellington Campus: 04 979 3192 or 04 979 3193


The Open Polytechnic (online learning) disability and access services

Email: [email protected]