How to talk to your parents about a construction career

What to say to your parents about the career you want.

What do you do when you want a construction career but your family and whānau wants you to do something else?

Here are our tips on how to answer your parents’ concerns and convince them to support your construction career dreams.

Why don’t you be a solicitor – it’s well paid. 

Surprise them with facts and figures. Let them know people usually get paid above minimum wage to train in many construction careers, and you can earn good money when you qualify.

In fact, the pay range for people working in construction is around $37,000 to $145,000 a year. In the legal sector the top of the pay range is actually a little less, at around $40,000 to $115,000 a year.

It’s not a job for a girl.

Many women are working in construction now – and they are needed and valued. Show your parents some inspiring videos of women talking about their construction careers.

It’s dirty, dangerous and difficult.

Strict rules mean construction workplaces are kept as safe as possible, and new technology means that the work is becoming safer and easier.

Not all construction jobs are dirty. Jobs such as civil engineer, construction manager or quantity surveyor may not involve you getting dirty at all.

If you don’t mind a bit of dirt, let your parents know how you enjoy working with your hands and being outdoors.

It’s low skilled.

Construction work is not low skilled. Tell your parents that the minimum requirement for many construction jobs is a Level 4 New Zealand certificate that takes three years to earn while working as an apprentice – and for some jobs you need to have a degree. Show them the construction jobs in our jobs database as proof.

New Zealand has strict rules around making buildings that are safe and secure, so our construction workers need to be highly skilled professionals.

More good points about construction

Here are some more good points to share about the advantages for someone working in the construction industry.

  • Being eligible for free fees for part of your training.
  • Having a good chance of finding a job when you qualify.
  • Enjoying working in a team towards a common goal.
  • Helping build more and safer houses.
  • Progressing into leadership roles with more training.
  • Owning your own business.
  • Keeping physically fit and active.
  • Working anywhere in the world.

If your parents still don’t agree with your choice, suggest they talk to your teacher or your school's career adviser.


Talking to your parents about careers in construction – (Video courtesy of BCITO – 1:00mins)

Updated 18 Jun 2019