Kawerau mayor Malcolm Campbell is suggesting the education sector should be overhauled to cater to students' individual career ambitions.
The district council in the Bay of Plenty and several local companies - such as timber processors - are finalising a work experience programme they want to offer to local young people.
About 7000 people live in Kawerau, and 60% of them are Maori.
Mr Campbell is questioning the way the education system is preparing students for the work force.
He says education needs to change and he can't understand how a pupil wanting to move into a career in forestry work or logistics would benefit from studying English history.