Think speed dating - but instead of finding love, you are finding a job.

That's kind of what went on at the Rotorua Community Centre this week when a bunch of keen students wanting employment were put in front of local businesses needing people to fill jobs.

Upgrade with a Trade was held in Rotorua for the first time on Wednesday and organisers are hailing it a huge success.

Samuel Edwards, 16, and Nathan Badcock, 16, with Inta-Wood Forestry operations manager Raumati Morgan at Upgrade with a Trade. Photo / Stephen Parker
Samuel Edwards, 16, and Nathan Badcock, 16, with Inta-Wood Forestry operations manager Raumati Morgan at Upgrade with a Trade. Photo / Stephen Parker

About 70 students in their final years at secondary school met with 16 Rotorua employers who had jobs vacant.

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The students chatted to the potential employers for five minutes before a bell rang and they shuffled along to the next employer.

Young people look at a career at Rotorua's Claymark. Photo / Supplied
Young people look at a career at Rotorua's Claymark. Photo / Supplied

At the end of each "interview", both students and employers indicated on a card a "yes, no, or maybe" whether they were keen to take the next step.

The idea was to get them to explore a range of careers in the trades and services, while employers had the chance to meet lots of young people and potentially offer them employment or work experience.

If a certain job wasn't for them, it still gave them first-hand experience with talking to employers about themselves, which the organisers said all helped to build confidence in youth.

The event was put together by the Ministry of Education and Rotorua Community Youth Centre Trust - a delivery partner for YouthHub.

Rotorua Boys' High School students talk to Rainbow Springs staff about jobs. Photo / Supplied
Rotorua Boys' High School students talk to Rainbow Springs staff about jobs. Photo / Supplied

Among the employers were Rainbow Springs, Claymark, BOP Plumbing and Gas, Waiora Spa, Novotel Rotorua, Scion, Doing Good and Inta-Wood Forestry.

YouthHub partnership broker Kirsten Bangs said the employers' feedback had been great.
She said some had expressed frustration in the past about advertising roles and getting back more than 100 applications, most of which were from another country.

"This is an opportunity to get to meet locals only for local jobs."

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Ministry of Education principal adviser secondary tertiary Jayne Furlong said at least two of the employers had told her by the morning of the event they were blown away by the calibre of the young people.

"They said they were articulate, driven and knew what they wanted."

She said so much so, one Rotorua Boys' High School student walked out of the session and within a few hours has a job. He came wanting to find work on the weekends and an employer was so impressed, he made him an offer on the spot.

Youth Centre chief executive Jen Murray said that success story epitomised what they wanted.

"We aren't looking for fluff, we're looking for outcomes."

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick, who attended the event, said it aligned with the mayors' Taskforce for Jobs, which aims to get young people taking up opportunities and into training and work.

The event was deemed so successful, it would be run again in September.