South Canterbury school-leavers probe career opportunities

Constable Bob Katene, of Timaru, shows a police baton to YMCA students Quintin Miller, Dylan Hurst and Hamish Howell at ...

Constable Bob Katene, of Timaru, shows a police baton to YMCA students Quintin Miller, Dylan Hurst and Hamish Howell at the Timaru Careers and Industry Expo held at the Southern Trust Events Centre.

Recruiters says it is hard to tell how keen South Canterbury's school-leavers are to work and study locally.

Hundreds of high school pupils visited the Timaru Careers and Industry Expo 2016 on Monday to browse their career options.

Newly merged Christchurch and Timaru-based polytechnic Ara Institute dominated the stadium, occupying 64 of the expo booths.

A March performance report for the polytechnic suggested primary industries courses had not attracted the expected number of enrolments in South Canterbury, although chairwoman Jane Bestwick said enrolments in the region were tracking well overall.

Student liaison Stephanie Collins said although a large number of pupils had expressed interest in becoming Ara students, the institute would need to enter data it had collected from those attending the expo to get a clearer picture of which campuses South Canterbury students might study at. 

Representatives from New Zealand universities and polytechnics, the New Zealand Defence Force, the police, St John Ambulance, tourism schools and accountants were among the industries and organisations which filled the remaining 26 booths.

Police representatives said in April they were looking for new recruits to boost the force in South Canterbury.

Mid/South Canterbury Area Commander Inspector Dave Gaskin said at the time some vacancies advertised nationally had failed to attract any applicants, and police were doing everything they could to recruit new staff to the region.

Constable Bob Katene, who manned the police booth at the expo, said although some young people were "very interested" in joining the force, they had discussed what a police career involved rather than where they might be posted.

Chinese-owned dairy company Oceania was also seeking to attract local youth to work for the company. The company's chief executive, Roger Usmar, said earlier this month the company's dairy factory at Glenavy was expected to have about 200 staff once the second stage of its expansion was complete in March 2017, which he said would be positive for the region.

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An IT support worker for the company, Jamie O'Connor, said a number of pupils at the expo had expressed interest in working for the company once they left school or after completing an apprenticeship.


 - Stuff


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