Day adds structure to career paths

By Genevieve Helliwell

Mount Maunganui College student Tim Neate got a glimpse into his future at the Instep Beca Engineering Day.

He and about 40 other Western Bay secondary school students challenged themselves to engineering activities, engaged with local engineers and listened to graduates' stories of life as an engineer. The group also visited the Tauranga Eastern Link site.

The careers day is one of about 40 activities held during Western Bay @ Work month, which is being held from July 26 to August 24.

Western Bay @ Work is a month-long programme of activities and events held to highlight career development opportunities to people such as students, new migrants, and those wishing to retrain, up-skill or return to the workforce.

At the engineering day, students had to create a tall structure using paper, straws and sticky tape. The tower had to be strong enough to hold a can of fizzy drink.

In the Mount Maunganui College group, Tim and fellow students Ben Parker, Jason Waters, Daniel Cleghorn and Kurt Jorey, created a triangular pyramid structure.

Tim said the design had to be functional but they were also judged on how it looked.

"Today's been fun and it's something I could get into in the future. I find building stuff and problem solving interesting," he said. "One thing I like about it is the variety engineering offers. I thinking about maybe getting into mechanical or structural engineering."

Beca regional manager Gavin Frost said the day was valuable for future engineers to get into a workplace environment and see the various engineering roles in action. The company employed about five graduates each year.

Beca and Priority One have held career days at the firm for Western Bay secondary students for the past six years.

Western Bay @ Work has been an annual event in Tauranga for the past four years.

Project manager Lyn Parlane said the Western Bay @ Work programme was designed to inspire and excite participants about possible career options, wherever they were in their career life-cycle.

"The theme for this year is connecting and collaborating as a region and we've got fantastic resources, fantastic business and great schools and if we bring all this together and connect, we can produce a workforce where we have the skills we need now and in the future."

The group responsible for leading the Western Bay @ Work initiative comprised of representatives from Priority One's Instep programme, Tauranga Rotary, the Chamber of Commerce, Career Services, tertiary institutions, industry training organisations, schools and local government.

For more information about Western Bay @ Work month, visit

- Bay of Plenty Times

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