Expo to help set career pathways

By Steve Hart

New-look show catering for young and older people.

The expo is designed to help graduates meet the requirements of companies looking for staff. Photo / Supplied
The expo is designed to help graduates meet the requirements of companies looking for staff. Photo / Supplied

After 22 years, the Career Expo show has been given a makeover to provide even more help for students and older people looking for a change in direction.

The three-day event at Auckland's ASB Showgrounds from June 6-8 is all about career guidance - rather than job hunting - and will feature a range of speakers providing advice to people looking for study and training options.

Organisers say the show is the largest of its kind in the country and this year hopes to connect more than 50,000 people in Christchurch, Auckland, Wellington and Hamilton, with training providers and companies on hand to let people know what skills they will be looking for.

Expo director Mark Gillard says the biggest change people will see at this year's event includes the show's partnership with the Ministry of Education and the launch of the Government's Vocational Pathways scheme.

"The Pathways scheme will impact schools, training institutions ... all the way through to employers," says Gillard.

"Vocational Pathways is all about matching up the learnings from school and the credits they get, with the actual requirements of employers with jobs to offer. The event will help people match their skills, passion and strengths with future job opportunities.

"It will help them see that the credits they achieve at school will help them get the future training and jobs they want - to help them get on the correct career pathway for where they want to go.

"The whole show is about transition and planning ahead, rather than employment. This show is in the main about secondary school students transitioning from school all the way through training and into the workforce.

"Or people who are outside of the education system who are looking to retrain, want a new direction or who want to find out where to go next with their particular skill set. For example, people looking for professional development - to improve what they've got - or look for new opportunities"

Gillard says people today can expect to experience up to four different career pathways during their working life "so this show is for those people as well".

He also says that only three out of every 10 people know what they want to do for a job while at school. "It means that seventy per cent of the emerging workforce do not know what job they want to do and therefore are not heading toward specific training," he says. "So they are either going to be trained on the job or they take time out to assess what they want to do.

"The show will help these people look at and assess what options are open to them."

The quality of applicants companies are seeing right now is probably one of the biggest concerns they have, he says.

"Employers do have positions available but find it difficult to attract young people who are prepared for their vacancies.

"So while there is still a high level of unemployment, and jobs in some sectors of industry are hard to come by, we are working to help future job applicants meet the needs of industry."

Briar Frecklington of Fletcher Building says the expo helps firms such as hers ensure there are enough skilled graduates to meet its requirements. "With tens of thousands of school students visiting the Careers Expo it's a great opportunity to meet students and discuss Fletcher Building and career opportunities," she says.

Among the seminars planed for the Auckland event are talks from people representing Vocational Pathways, Massey University, University of Waikato and the Media Design School.

•On the web

www.careersexpo.org.nz

Vocational Pathways

Vocational Pathways helps bring together education and training providers with industry as well as provide a framework for vocational options, support programme design, and career advice.

It is a partnership between government agencies, the industry-training sector, secondary and tertiary education representatives, and employer representatives.

Supporters of the scheme say it will help students develop an individual education plan, "so they are better informed and able to make better choices to meet their [career] goals".

•On the web

www.youthguarantee.net.nz.

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