Sort It jobs fest a suc­cess

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

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.’’

PHOTO: DAVID UN­WIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Thou­sands of high school pupils had plenty of ca­reer op­tions to eval­u­ate.

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