Career expo seeks to inform pupils

Crash course . . . St John emergency medical technician Lewis Watts speaks with year 11 Roncalli College pupils (from left) Lexi Gutierez, 16, and Liz Palacios and Rozeina Tao-ey, both 15.

An annual career expo is looking to create pathways leading back to Timaru.

For the seventh time, the South Canterbury Year 11 Pathways Expo was held at the Southern Trust Events Centre and drew more than 800 year 11 pupils from South Canterbury secondary schools.

Run by Venture Timaru, the event was an opportunity for pupils to connect with businesses and organisations from around the region to discuss career pathways, job opportunities and receive information to prepare them for the world of work.

Venture Timaru vocational coordinator Liam Brown said the career landscape was now a very different place than it once was.

‘‘It’s much more like a jungle gym than the more traditional ladder it was in the past.

‘‘People are changing their careers a lot more frequently and a degree won’t always land you that job.

‘‘The big thing a lot of businesses today will say is that you’ve got to put yourself out there.

‘‘You’ve got to stand out from other people but you’ve also got to be proactive,’’ he said.

‘‘A lot of the time with jobs these days it’s not necessarily the qualification that will get you the role; it might be who you know and how you are putting yourself out there.

‘‘Ring the businesses, let them know you are keen, passionate and ask questions and show interest.’’

Meet and greet . . . Pupils take part in the Speed Networking session at the South Canterbury Year 11 Pathways Expo. PHOTOS: STEVIE WALLACE

He said it was important to focus on the year 11 age group in particular.

‘‘A lot of them haven’t thought about what they want to do yet, so we want to open their eyes up to that.

‘‘Obviously, with the expo being all local businesses and industries, we want to showcase the amazing work and opportunities Timaru has to offer.

‘‘A lot of these guys are going to be the next generation of workforce and we’re a bit selfish so we want to keep that workforce within our region.

‘‘It also gives them two years to think about what they’ve heard today and that informs their course selection for year 12, 13 and then post school.

‘‘Even though they might go away to study for four years, through the expo they know there might be a graduate opportunity when they come back.’’

Making the leap . . . Zac Campbell, 16, tests if he has what it takes to join the police force as officer Shannon Edwards watches on.

It was crucial to focus on keeping young skilled workers in the region, he said.

‘‘From an economic development perspective and with a venture Timaru background we want to grow our population here in Timaru.

‘‘Part of that is recruiting and retaining skilled youth. We want to showcase those opportunities here.’’

Roncalli College pupil Tim Kirk said the expo was incredibly helpful.

‘‘This expo is important for students because you just don’t know what’s out there.

‘‘There are lots of different paths that I didn’t know about and it was really interesting to see all of the careers on offer.’’

Outside of the expo, Venture Timaru also offers career initiatives such as My Next Move and runs a variety of other career-centric events during the year.