Making a Difference Through Science Careers in New Zealand
New Zealand is known as a country that is innovative and creative in applying science to real life problems. Currently there is a large demand for graduates with science-related degrees in industry, businesses, government organizations, and medical-related fields. Many of the universities in New Zealand are well known for their expertise in biotechnology, engineering, alternative energy development, health sciences and many applied sciences such as agriculture and horticulture. The knowledge gained from science subjects for most students is used directly in their future careers that directly make a difference to how people use resources or to the quality of life.
The “clean-green” image of New Zealand is protected by legislation, but more than that, businesses are very keen to develop environmentally friendly practices and are employing people with academic backgrounds in being innovative and creative in the use of science to develop new products or research greater efficiencies in the use of resources. Water and energy use will be global issues that will need graduates who have knowledge of biology, chemistry, physics and environmental science as it relates to the sustainability and minimization of resource use. These types of graduates will be in even higher demand both in New Zealand and internationally in the future.
The Canterbury region has a number of companies who work with the universities and research institutes to develop cutting edge inventions that will make a difference to people’s lives. Graduates who have applied knowledge of science and technology are highly sought after. Several universities offer specialist programmes in engineering (civil, electrical. mechanical and chemical). These graduates move into companies who develop infrastructure, towns, cities, and public services such as water and sewage management. Many engineers also design new products or processes that are used in medicine, bioengineering of chemicals or genetics, disposal or breakdown products or for the agriculture and horticultural industries.
Science subjects at university can also lead to a wide range of other opportunities. For example, degrees in viticulture are providing graduates with the background and skills to move into the ever-increasing wine making industry. Other options for graduates with science backgrounds include careers in teaching (early childhood, primary and secondary schooling) or to careers in teaching at universities and polytechnics.
Many New Zealand universities offer courses that emphasise traditional science knowledge and skills since the need for these is precipitated by the demand for people in the health sciences, agricultural sciences and physics careers related to electronics and engineering. Recently we have been faced with the very different challenges including changes in weather, the earth’s surface changes, and the need to use native plants as a bio-diverse resource for new products and cures. The demand for innovative new products and digital monitoring technologies and communication devices has led to a huge increase in the demand for people who have detailed knowledge of electronic research and development.
Combinations of science subjects along with mathematics are leading to new careers for example, informatics. Such careers make a difference by predicting genetic predispositions and therefore the probability and need for diet aversion for people with genetic predispositions to certain diseases such as heart disease or cancer. Medical related professionals are hugely in demand all around the world (doctors, allied paramedics, medical technicians, nurses, dentists and veterinarians). There is no doubt that these professionals certainly make a difference.
For more information on studying in New Zealand see the Study New Zealand website