A Labour government would invest $30 million to ensure professional career advisors in all schools, Andrew Little says.
The party's leader told the Industry Training Federation conference in Wellington today that 87,200 young New Zealanders were not in employment, education and training, and that number had grown by 26,000 in the past eight years.
It was unacceptable that these young people were drifting without a clear plan for the future, he said.
If elected to government, Labour would professionalise career advice to help guide students into further education or the workforce, he said.
"That means, in every high school, we will have highly trained, skilled staff working with students from their first year at high school," Mr Little said.
"Working closely with them to guide them through making decisions about where they're heading and what they want to do in their lives."
Mr Little said by the time he was in Year 12 - or sixth form, at the time - he had known he was interested in a career in law.