Strong support for first jobs expo

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By DAVID HILL

North Canterbury’s first careers expo has been declared a success.

Around 75 stallholders, including local businesses, local and central government, educational institutes and industry organisations came together at Rangiora High School last Tuesday to inspire North Canterbury youth in their job choices.

The expo was the result of a collaboration between the school, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), the Ministry of Education, the Waimakariri District Council, the Ara Institute of Canterbury and Community College North Canterbury.

“The gem of the idea started with MSD and the Ministry of Education and then we brought Waimakariri District Council on board and we joined resources together and explored different options,” Rangiora High School acting principal Paul Donnelly said.

The conversation began earlier this year after around 200 young people turned up to enrol at the Rangiora Work and Income office with little idea of what they wanted to do with their lives.

Young people have wonderful potential that is not being explored, he says.

“So there kind of like a call or a need to help those young people to see, ‘OK, this is what you can offer and what are your interests and what can you offer to this community’.”

He says the evening provided a chance for local businesses to tell their stories and promote opportunities for young people to have a career in North Canterbury.

Rangiora High School deputy principal Alison Cleary says, in the past, North Canterbury students have attended the annual careers expo in Christchurch, but tended to spend more time on the bus.

“My biggest fear at 3 o’clock this morning was, ‘are there going to any kids here tonight?’.”

She was blown away by the response, having to print off a second run of 400 flyers in the first hour.

Ms Cleary says the open-plan Rakahuri building provided the ideal venue. While some fine-tuning is needed, the school is keen to run it again next year.

Schools all over North Canterbury were invited, with the Ministry of Education funding the cost of running a bus from Hurunui College.

Waimakariri District Council youth development facilitator Sam Redman says the event is important to support young people in making informed career choices in an uncertain environment with changing technology.

Youth employment is one of the focuses in the Waimakariri youth development strategy, passed last year, he says.

“There’s some great services out there, but a lot of young people fall through the gaps, so having an event like this is just so important.”