Principals take school bus for community lesson

By Joseph Aldridge

Mount Maunganui candlemaker Nicola Farrant enjoyed turning the tables on a group of school principals - calling them into her office for a talking to.

"I must admit it's been a few years since I've been in the principal's office, I think it was for throwing food, but it was quite nice to have them all standing and listening quietly," she said.

Mrs Farrant's business, Candles of New Zealand, was the first stop on a Western Bay of Plenty Principal's Day Out, run by Priority One, yesterday.

Run for seven years, the day is a chance for high school principals to engage with local businesses and hear first-hand their skill needs for the future.

In previous years the principals have visited horticultural and manufacturing businesses, as well as local government organisations and engineering firms. This year's theme was innovation.

Touring the city on a school bus, the nine principals also visited product development company Locus Research and the Coastal Marine Field Station at Sulphur Point.

Katikati College principal Neil Harray, on his third Principal's Day Out, said the day was more than just a chance to talk shop with fellow principals.

"The thing I remember from last year is that all these companies are doing amazing things and taking all these risks.

"Education can be quite risk averse and it's quite inspirational to see companies taking all these risks and being innovative.

"I think it's important for us to see that sort of thing."

Mr Harray said the "real life" knowledge gained by speaking with business owners was helpful when speaking with students about the path they may want to follow when they leave school.

Mrs Farrant said she had enjoyed discussing the skills that her business needs, both now and in the future. "One of the things that they've taken away is that you actually need all-round skills, you need a little bit of everything. You also need someone who's loyal, hard-working and trustworthy, and that's above everything else.

"If they've got those qualities, then they will work hard for you and they'll understand what you need to achieve."

Priority One Instep manager Lyn Parlane said the day was about getting the principals out of their school communities and engaging them in the wider community. Priority One had chosen innovative businesses from amongst its members to share their insight with the principals.

"It is a good day but there is a real purpose to it. It's really getting them out because schools have their own communities and it's really important to engage them out in the community, to meet people, to network, and also to give back to business what's happening in education."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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