There's a group of Whanganui employers that has a special relationship with Whanganui High School.

And recently the school held a special function to thank those Whanganui employers, all of whom have provided work experience for the school's senior students.

The employers were invited to the school on Thursday evening for a drink. All were presented with a plaque from the school.

Peter Reid, Whanganui High School's employment co-ordinator, said the employers support the school by taking students in for work experience - which sometimes leads to apprenticeships or paid employment.


Mr Reid said the school has two programmes that provide Year 12 and 13 students with work experience.

The Gateway programme gives students the opportunity to work alongside an employer for two days a week, with the other three days spent at school. Students can also do study programmes for Gateway, with some students opting to take courses at organisations like Ag Challenge.

"This programme is long-term, and the students attend for the full school year," Mr Reid said.

He said sometimes a student will impress an employer so much that they will offer them an apprenticeship or job.

"We have 10 students already this year who have left school to take up apprenticeships after doing the Gateway programme."

The more academically inclined students can do the vocational skills taster programme, which gives them one day a week with an employer for around six weeks.

"Those can be anything from a vet clinic to a beekeeper to a lawyer," Mr Reid said.

"This programme gives the student a chance to see if they would like working in a job they're interested in."


Mr Reid said the school was very grateful to the employers who agree to take students.

"They are so supportive and so willing to take these kids. Many of them also see the value of these students - we have an ageing workforce in Whanganui."

He said Whanganui High School had one of the biggest Gateway programmes in the country.

"We have funding for 84 students - six years ago, we had funding for 40."