With universities, polytechs and training providers soon to open their gates to a new roll of students, several organisations are taking their message of higher education to one of Hamilton's most hard-up communities.
The New Zealand Management Academy, along with the Enderley Park Community Centre and Hamilton City Council, are organising a careers expo at the centre on Friday.
The event, which includes more than 30 exhibitors, aimed to directly engage with the community and overcome prohibitive transport costs, which could sometimes prove an obstacle to education and work for people in the area, said event co-organiser Marama Tahapeh.
"As I've been going into the communities, one of the things that dawned on me is, as providers, we tend to send out our prospectus, but we never really go to the heart of the community," she said.
The event, which has been planned over the last six months, would be the first of its kind at a community centre in Hamilton.
"Enderley was chosen after talking with the community, who expressed a desire for something to inspire their young people.
"Waikato region has the highest NEET Rate [not engaged in education, employment, training or caregiving] in New Zealand. We have a huge number of youth doing nothing. They are exhausting our health sector and our economy, and the idea [of the expo] is taking it there and saying, ‘You can'."
Enderley Park Community Centre manager Margaret O'Brien, who has managed the centre for the last three years, said the prospect of such events could sometimes be daunting for potential applicants.
So having an event in a more relaxed, social environment would be beneficial to youth in the area, she said.
"It's about bringing it to the community and equipping them to take those steps out of the community."
Pauline Pura Gray, who will be at the expo to provide information on behalf of the University of Waikato Management School, said it was important for the university to have a presence at the event.
"We know that Enderley may not be one of the areas we get many students, but I think we have to start putting back in some positive role models."
Meanwhile, Wintec, which will also have a stall at the expo in Enderley, is holding a series of open house events for prospective students starting tomorrow, and extending over the next two weeks.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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