Careers Expo draws school leavers

FLY YOUR KITE: Colin Prescott, air traffic control team leader at the Christchurch terminal, talks with Alesha Gambitsis, 17.
Stacy Squires/Fairfax NZ
FLY YOUR KITE: Colin Prescott, air traffic control team leader at the Christchurch terminal, talks with Alesha Gambitsis, 17.

Like most 16-year-olds, Summer Nairn is undecided about her future. The Ellesmere College student was looking at options at the Careers Expo last week.

Recruiters, training providers and advisers wore bright colours, smiled and gave away pens and bags of lollies to catch her attention and that of the hundreds of students unsure what to with their lives.

"I am not sure yet whether I want to be a builder or a chef," Nairn said.

Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) training advisor Kriss Winthers was here to give her tips.

"Employers are looking for apprentices at the moment. Motivated young people can get one straight away," he said.

The BCITO provides assistance to employers and apprentices to manage the training period and its assessment.

A nail-driving competition attracted dozens of young men, and a few young women behind the organisation's stand.

"Starting with a carpentry apprenticeship could be a springboard to other roles - supervise job sites, run your own business or even become an architect," Winthers said.

Nearby, air traffic controllers promoted their profession.

They have their own training college in Christchurch, and being selected means a job starting at $90,000 a year at the end of the year-long training.

Team leader Christchurch terminal Colin Prescott said young people were not aware of this career opportunity. "Kids have no idea what we are doing."

Hellers Butchers was one of the few employers among a majority of universities, polytechnics and tertiary institutes.

Chief financial officer Brent Ford said the company was "always employing people".

With 400 staff on site in Kaiapoi, 120 in Auckland and the recent acquisition of Goodman Fielder, Hellers is a rapidly growing business.

"Young people can start with us straight out of high-school and move up in the industry," Ford said.

Science, business, IT and engineering qualifications were particularly sought after, he said.

The Press