Speed dating format helps liven up job search expo

By Melissa Wishart

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Lianne Kohere has attended numerous secondary school expos in the past, but was pleased this one was also aimed at job seeking. Photo/Supplied
Lianne Kohere has attended numerous secondary school expos in the past, but was pleased this one was also aimed at job seeking. Photo/Supplied

Organisers of a community careers expo in Ohakune next week are hoping people will walk out with jobs.

Implementation manager of the Ruapehu Whanau Transformation Team Erena Mikaere Most said the expo, which will be held at Ruapehu College, will be run in a sort of "speed dating" format.

"It's a little bit different from a normal expo," Ms Mikaere Most said. "We knew we couldn't do the same old thing."

Employers may have stands, but could also be walking the room and networking. As well as this, visitors have the opportunity to have "mini interviews" with employers looking for workers.

At the moment there were 12 apprenticeships up for grabs, and 100 part-time jobs available for winter.

Ms Mikaere Most said they hadn't looked into whether any other expos in New Zealand were run this way, but "I've never heard of it before."

The expo runs from 3-6pm on February 26, and so far there are 26 registered employer groups attending.

Pre-expo workshops have been run in the weeks leading up, teaching people interview skills, employee rights, health and safety guidelines, and how to create standout CV.

A workshop held Wednesday involved a panel of local employees discussing what they look for when interviewing potential employees, which Ms Mikaere Most said was particularly popular.

The focus of the expo was to get locals working in local jobs, as she said "there seems to be a disconnect between those local opportunities going to local people".

They were expecting people from Raetihi, Waiouru, Taihape, and Ohakune to attend.

Whanganui District Health Board would also be attending the expo and setting up a stand to encourage people into health careers in the area.

Ms Mikaere Most said there was a perception that the expo was only for school leavers because it was being held in a college, but they encouraged people of all ages to attend, including people still in school.

"That's about gaining experience and work ethic," she said.

They believed this was the first expo of its kind to be run in the Waimarino District, and depending on how successful it was they would look at running annually or every two years.

WDHB Whanau Ora workforce coordinator Lianne Kohere was delighted the expo was being pitched at students as well as those seeking work.

"Everyone in the community is welcome to approach our stand to discuss health careers and we invite them to do so," Mrs Kohere said. "It's all about us being able to connect with people in the area and encouraging those interested in health careers to pursue them.

"The Ruapehu Whanau Transformation Group is working hard to identify education and employment opportunities for the Waimarino. They are keen to see more Maori taking up health careers."

Mrs Kohere thought it was fitting that WDHB's Maori Health Service were doing all they could to support the initiative.

WDHB spokesman Hentie Cilliers said staff who attended other careers events were often impressed with the level of interest shown in health careers.

"The interest in becoming a doctor or nurse is always high, however, as promotion and awareness of other roles has risen, so too has interest in the large number of other professional roles which exist in health.

Mr Cilliers said there were more than 100 different health careers, and WDHB promoted a broad spectrum of them.

"The key focus is to create a better understanding about the different careers involved," he said. "Shortland Street is not the reality."

The region had a great need for generalist clinicians such as GPs. "Some specialties such as sonographers, ED consultants, psychologists, midwives and others are always in demand."

The Ruapehu Whanau Transformation Team will run free transport from Raetihi and Waiouru for anyone who wanted to attend the expo, and free childcare would be available.

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

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