Ready for a world of work

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR BODY - RICHARD MAYS

A show­case of ed­u­ca­tional and em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties cel­e­brates its fourth an­niver­sary to­mor­row at Palmer­ston North’s Cen­tral En­ergy Trust Arena.

Sort It is a re­gion­ally based ini­tia­tive to put sec­ondary stu­dents and job­seek­ers in con­tact with ter­tiary train­ing in­sti­tu­tions, along with mak­ing them aware of vo­ca­tional and ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties.

It’s cham­pi­oned by Palmer­ston North city coun­cil­lor, and chair­man of the coun­cil’s Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Com­mit­tee and Em­ploy­ment, Adrian Broad.

‘‘There’s 2600 high school kids booked. The idea of the expo is to ex­pose these kids to busi­nesses, and to give them a look at the train­ing and ed­u­ca­tional path­ways they can take.’’

Broad said the idea came from Feild­ing’s 2013 Where’s My Job? pro­mo­tion, and with the sup­port of then-mayor of Manawatu District Coun­cil, Mar­garet Kou­velis, was ex­panded into the re­gional Sort It the fol­low­ing year.

He pointed out that only 30 per cent of school leavers were univer­sity-bound.

‘‘That means that 70 per cent are ei­ther go­ing to other in­sti­tu­tions such as UCOL, or go­ing di­rectly into work - or they are go­ing to strug­gle.

‘‘The ob­jec­tive is to have all our school leavers in ter­tiary train­ing or in work.’’

Know­ing their chil­dren had prospects was also re­as­sur­ing for par­ents, while youth em­ploy­ment helped re­duce crime, sui­cide and poverty.

‘‘We need not only to train but re­tain peo­ple in the re­gion, all based on the city be­ing a good place to find a ca­reer. If peo­ple are look­ing at chang­ing ca­reers, then here are some op­tions.’’

Broad said the expo con­cept was gain­ing mo­men­tum, and from ini­tially ’’run­ning on the smell of an oily rag’’, Sort It had picked up $15,000 an­nual funding from the Palmer­ston North City Coun­cil for the next 10 years. There was in­put from the Cen­tral Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Agency, and Hori­zons was pro­vid­ing the buses.

‘‘Busi­nesses and in­sti­tu­tions are recog­nis­ing this is im­por­tant, and I’m de­lighted by the con­tin­u­ing sup­port for the expo from lo­cal com­pa­nies.’’

Sort It had at­tracted the coun­try’s main univer­si­ties and lead­ing train­ing in­sti­tu­tions, along with rep­re­sen­ta­tion from sec­tors such as health, de­fence, the Fire Ser­vice, trans­port and lo­gis­tics and the con­struc­tion in­dus­try.

PHOTO: DAVID UNWIN/FAIR­FAX NZ

Stu­dents from Long­burn Ad­ven­tist Col­lege check out last year’s Sort It ca­reers expo.

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