Local firms join forces to create Expo jobs hub

By David Porter

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Grow Rotorua's chief executive Francis Pauwels says tourism remains a key target.
Grow Rotorua's chief executive Francis Pauwels says tourism remains a key target.

Business organisations are collaborating to provide an enterprise hub for this year's Rotorua Careers Expo to showcase current and future employment opportunities.

Key objectives include attracting talent into current industries such as manufacturing, wood processing, healthcare and tourism, as well as demonstrating the skills that will be required as new industries develop, said Francis Pauwels, chief executive of Grow Rotorua.

Grow Rotorua is working with the Rotorua Chamber of Commerce and EMA (Employers and Manufacturers Association) to provide the business focus for the expo, scheduled for May, which is organised annually by the Careers Expo Trust.

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"The key interest from our perspective is attracting talent into current industries, and showcasing where those careers are going and the sort of skills we need," said Mr Pauwels.

"All those industries are heading in the right direction at the moment, which is great and that should give confidence both to young people and to others who want to retrain."

It was essential to know there would a job at the end of training, he said.

"The second thing which is of interest to us is the newer industries and projects we're working on and the sort of skills they are going to require."

Mr Pauwels said he was talking particularly of the wood processing area, and the increasing level of automation and technology in the building sector, which was seeing more engineered products. Rather than classical construction methods, there were now new methods of running plants and much more computer-controlled machinery, he said.

Tourism also remained a key careers focus, he added.

"We're looking at the whole tourism strategy and where Rotorua needs to position or reposition following world trends," said Mr Pauwels.

"You need different skill sets to understand that it's not just about running the business, but understanding what existing and future customers will be looking for."

EMA business development manager Renee Nathan said the expo always had a strong focus on education, which was great. The aim of the enterprise hub was to help bridge the gap with potential employers for both students and people already in a career who were looking to retrain.

Renee Nathan.
Renee Nathan.

"From the employers' point of view, it will give them the chance to promote what kind of skills are required and the opportunities that are available," she said. "We want to build the Bay of Plenty as a destination where there are exciting and challenging careers for people. A big thing is just creating awareness of the depth and breadth of roles that may be available."

Rotorua Careers Expo:

* When: May 17-18, 2016

* Where: Energy Events Centre, Rotorua

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