Expo opens students' eyes to careers

It was hard to find someone not deep in conversation at the Hamilton Careers Expo yesterday.

And aside from discussing career options at the dozens of stalls in the Claudelands Event Centre, the seekers could get hands-on.

They stepped into the safety gear of linesmen, braided hair and performed CPR, hammered nails and tried out the driver's seat of a formula SAE car.

The two-day expo continues today and a number of school groups are expected.

For student Nick Fulton, 15, yesterday gave him a chance to learn more about careers in radio, photography and tourism.

"I found out for quite a few of the careers you need at least level 2 [NCEA]," he said.

"I liked going to The Edge stall and making a shout-out and making a request for a song, because I want to be in radio broadcasting."

And William McMillan, also 15, made a beeline for the defence force stand to find out about training as a mechanic in the Navy. "They really need mechanics to help fix their tanks and stuff, and trucks," he said. "I need a level 1 [NCEA] to get into most of the stuff and he said it's better to have more levels."

There was a steady flow of students keen to hear about a career in the electricity supply industry, WEL Networks line mechanic Albert Rodrigues said.

Many students "don't have a clue" what it involves.

"We try and give them an experience that we would have when we're out on the powerlines and all the gear that we wear and how we would use it. And that sparks their interest," he said.

Ladies were showing an interest too.

"We tell them that it's not just a man's world any more . . . As long as you're young, fit and keen, women can do it as well," Rodrigues said.

This was the second year of a Careers Expo-led event in Hamilton and it allowed students to find out face to face about jobs they'd never considered, director Mark Gillard said.

One year 13 boy who liked science and geography had a "bit of a lightbulb moment" when city planning was suggested as a career.

The event was also popular with exhibitors and space was booked out around two months beforehand, meaning it may have to expand next year.

Around 8000 visitors are expected across the two days and they can visit stalls set up by 65 organisations ranging from the defence force to the Swiss Hotel Management School and trade training organisations.

The expo runs 9am-3pm today, at the Claudelands Event Centre.

Waikato Times