Sort It jobs fest a success
The careers welcome mat earned its keep as more than four thousand secondary pupils, teachers, older job seekers, and tertiary and employment providers tramped across it during the fourth annual Sort It jobs expo last Thursday.
At times, areas of the Central Energy Trust Arena 2 were packed, as groups of teens in school uniforms surged into the stadium before making their way around the numerous stalls.
Many of the booths had interactive components designed to attract and engage.
Horizons Regional Council provided free buses to the event from schools around the wider region, with attendance well exceeding expectations, along with last year’s total of about 2600, according to convenor Adrian Broad.
Sort It had attracted major tertiary institutions including Massey, UCOL, IPU, Te Wananga, WelTec and the universities of Auckland, Waikato and Canterbury.
There was a diverse range of manufacturers and service providers, along with vocational representatives for professions such as law, early childhood, and property.
Michael Saywell, from Palmerston North’s The Design School, said there was a real buzz about this year’s expo, describing it as ‘‘fantastic’’.
Sheran Merritt, from WorkSkills Training, said it was bigger than last year.
‘‘There is a greater selection of employment and training options, and a better layout.’’
Rhys Graham, on the Higgins Group stand, had people trying out a virtual digger system.
‘‘We use it for training crews before giving them hands-on experience in the field. It keeps track of the time and load volumes through a series of different stages.’’ There was also a grader simulator. ‘‘We offer apprenticeships as well as engineering careers... It’s quite encouraging to see so many young people interested in the industry.’’
Graham said there were also beyond school-age inquiries. One older man had asked about truck driving opportunities.
The array of Sort It options caused several pupils to rethink their ideas.
Georgia Barrett, 16, a year-12 at Longburn Adventist College, said she came to find out about design, but was lured by the idea of attending North American summer camps.
‘‘It’s a bit overwhelming. There’s such a lot to see, and I’ve come across so many more ideas,’’ Barrett said.
After he’d tried on a firefighters suit, Bernard Wagener, 17, year-13 at St Peter’s College, said the expo was an eye-opener.
‘‘I didn’t know there were this many career options around here.’’
From Feilding High School, Evangeline Sanson, 15, year-11, had her eye on a career in food science, and said it was cool to have all the universities in one place, and to talk to people about the study options.
‘‘I now know a lot more about what is available, what I can do and where I can go.’’
St Peter’s College teacher Chris Osborne said pupils were showing good interest in the expo, judging from the number of information packs he saw being picked up.
‘‘A great many of them don’t have any ideas at the moment, but they need to know the pathways and subjects it takes to get into some of these careers.’’
Thousands of high school pupils had plenty of career options to evaluate.