Jobs a strong focus at Youth Expo
The biennial Alexandra Youth Expo will focus on job opportunities next year, as the country continues to battle a high unemployment rate. Youth worker Jim de Thierry said the expo, titled ‘‘Unleash Your Potential’’, traditionally promoted youth health and wellbeing with just a handful of career-focused stalls, but plans were under way to have a large number of industries represented at next year’s event. Mr de Thierry said there was pressure on secondary school students to begin specialising in subjects which complemented their likely career choice by the time they reached year 12. The expo was aimed at helping students in years 9 to 11 to make those decisions. Youth workers encouraged
all secondary school students to take the mainstream subjects, including maths and English, because they opened many doors. ‘‘We have a lot leaving school as soon as they turn 16 and we don’t want that. But it’s not everyone’s kettle of fish – not everyone’s academic.’’ The expo would feature many trades, including the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation, Electrical Apprenticeships and Training, infrastructure company Delta, and transport and civil infrastructure firm Fulton Hogan. Opportunities available during the Christchurch rebuild would also be represented. ‘‘Christchurch is going to be a big drawcard for a lot of people looking for work.’’ Information about qualifications offered by Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin and Cromwell – particu- larly the local viticulture and horticulture courses – would also be available, and the international relief organisation, Tear Fund, would be represented. Mr de Thierry said the aim was not to try and keep young people in the area but, if that was the choice they made, to ensure they had studied the right subjects to find a job locally. ‘‘This expo is to get them past the labour stage and into some trade or other type of qualification. ‘‘The most important training is at home. From there you have a good launch, but that is not always the case.’’ When the expo started in 2004 it involved seven stalls in the Dunstan High School hall. It now filled Molyneux Stadium to capacity with 30 stalls. The ‘‘core networks’’, which largely focused on youth health and wellbeing, would still be a part of the expo. They included police, Public Health South, mental health agencies, Child, Youth and Family, and the Rural Education Activities Programme. The one-day expo will be held on March 4. Dunstan High School students would be given a period to attend and the Maniototo and Roxburgh secondary schools would also be invited.
Youth worker Jim de Thierry.