Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty high school principals visited local companies on Tuesday to get a better sense of the student career options and what business is looking for from new employees.

"We do this every year to get our principals out from behind their desks and engaged in the business community to see what is happening and the kind of skills and competencies their students will need," said Lynn Parlane, manager of Priority One's InStep, which organises the visit.

Ten principals took part in this year's programme, which was focused around the theme of creativity in the working environment. The tour included visits to Trustpower's new activities-based head office in Durham St, engineering consultants Beca, and Pathlab, as well as briefings on the new Waikato University campus, and the University of Waikato Adams Centre for High Performance.

Tauranga Boys' College headmaster Robert Mangan said the visit provided a "real view" of what is going on in the local business community.


"It's a great opportunity for us to get and out and get a better understanding of workplaces and work environments, and the needs of our local community," he said.

"I find it very enlightening and inspiring in terms of the changes going on."

Melanie Dyer, general manager people and culture for Trustpower, said the principals had been really interested in looking at what the future nature of work would be like for their students.

"They really enjoyed the tour and liked some of the [activities-based workplace] concepts. And it also gives us a sense of what the future workforce is looking for as they come out of school."

During the visit to Beca, the headmasters had an opportunity to hear from young professionals who had recently joined the firm.

"It was a neat opportunity to showcase what graduates can do locally and to hear from some recent graduates," said Bay of Plenty regional manager Gavin Frost.

"They brought perspectives from their learning experience and how that prepared them well for the working environment."

The principals' final call of the day was at the Adams High Performance Centre, where manager Justine Brennan showcased the opportunities that had been created from the strategic partnership between the centre and Waikato University.

"It offers several pathways for local people, including athletes and students who are interested in studying sport and recreation," she said.

"In the centre, the university has a bespoke cutting edge sports science laboratory. It's really an exciting offering in terms of what it can offer students wanting to go down that pathway."

Principals on the InStep included:

Ray Scott, Aquinas College; Eoin Crosbie, Bethlehem College; Neil Harray, Katikati College; Russell Gordon, Mount Maunganui College; Dave Randell, Otumoetai College; Robert Mangan, Tauranga Boys' College; Pauline Cowens, Tauranga Girls' College; Alan Liddle, Te Puke High School; Koa Douglas, Te Wharekura o Mauao; Steve Lindsey, Papamoa College.