Promoting a career in engineering : an investigation of factors influencing career decision-making in New Zealand
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This thesis reports on survey research, conducted on a sample of Year 12 students within New Zealand who attended school in the Greater Auckland region during Autumn 2009. The survey gathered data in order to assess the students’ knowledge, attitudes, and the perceived influences on those attitudes, towards engineering as a career or field of study. The purpose of the research was to better understand factors that may influence Year 12 New Zealanders’ career decisions, especially with respect to careers in engineering, with a view to recommending to stakeholders how enrolment into Bachelor of Engineering programs might be increased.Schools were selected using stratified random sampling, and their Principals were approached through a strategy of emails, telephone calls, and by local personal contact. The students were surveyed via an online questionnaire, administered by school teachers and/or careers personnel, and conducted within school hours. A total of 292 students from 9 schools within the Greater Auckland region took part, and a variety of statistical techniques was used to analyze their responses.The New Zealand students were assessed as having a good knowledge of the benefits and demands of a career in engineering, and a positive attitude towards many of the suggested traits of engineering careers. Contradictions were found between the students’ perceived influences on their career choices, and the patterns of their response choices to a number of the survey questions. Statistically significant relationships were also found between the gender and ethnic background of the survey sample, the students’ attitudes towards careers in general and towards careers specifically in engineering, the influences on those attitudes, and the students’ selection of engineering as a career or field of study.Conclusions were drawn based on the research findings, and recommendations made as to how enrolment into Bachelor of Engineering programs might be increased. The recommendations formulated are directed to practitioners within the engineering profession and also to advisors within the education sector. Recommendations for additional research are then made.
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