Jobs a strong fo­cus at Youth Expo

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL NEWS - By JESSICA MAD­DOCK

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.

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