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Supporting young people ... Michelle Becks, lfeft, of Connected.govt.nz chats to Jess Thom and MIchelle Montgomery, both of Youth Service, during the careers expo at Rangiora High School in 2019. Photo: File

By David Hill

Next week’s careers expo provides an opportunity for all ages to explore what is possible.

Rangiora High School associate principal Paul Donnelly says the North Canterbury Youth Futures careers expo is open to all ages and allows parents to explore the opportunities with their children.

The expo will be held at Rangiora High School next Wednesday from 4pm to 8pm and is open to anyone aged 11 and over.

“The magic of this evening is that it’s not just for 11-year-olds through to age 24. The same message is for those who are a lot older,” Mr Donnelly says.

“If it gives those in the older age range the same opportunities and inspiration, then it’s a good thing and that’s why we wanted to make it a family expo.”

Holding the careers expo in the evening allowed young people to attend the event with their parents and tended to lead to more meaningful interactions with employers and training providers.

In contrast, there was a tendency for young people to congregate around the free pens and lollies when attending the bigger careers expo in Christchurch.

The experience of the first expo in 2019 also found that many parents were inspired by the possibilities available to them, as well as their children, Mr Donnelly says.

“It’s an opportunity to offer hope to our students and to those who are unemployed or looking for a change that there are possibilities that people can develop for themselves.

“Our working lives are fairly dynamic,” he says.

“We may start off in one career and finish up in another, so we have to develop those inner qualities and dispositions to adapt to change.”

Mr Donnelly says he cannot say enough about the support of the Ministry of Social Development and Connected.govt.nz in making the careers expo possible.

The Ministry of Education, ComCol North Canterbury, the Waimakariri District Council, Enterprise North Canterbury and local schools have all played a part in pulling the careers expo together, he says.

“They came to us and it’s been a collaborative process. We are all wanting to do the best for the youth in North Canterbury.

“We’ve got the ideal venue here, but education has to be way beyond the school and that’s why it (the expo) has to be a community thing.”

The expo will highlight the possibilities available in North Canterbury, he says.

“When employers employ local people local people need to have the attributes to get employed they enrich the province and contribute to the economic wellbeing and prosperity, and they become part of the life of the community.

“But we also acknowledge that our young people will work outside our community and will travel, so we have a responsibility to prepare them for the world, for the future and the opportunities in front of them.”