With businesses needing more workers and young people needing jobs it makes sense for educators to work with employers.
The recent Kāhui Ako/Ministry of Education Community of Learning event did just that. It was the brainchild of Tim Tukapua, the tumuaki of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Tūpoho.
As well as hands-on displays from the army, police and various emergency services, the event attracted the attention of businesses, notably Programming Maori Potential (PMP), a digital startup accelerator based in Christchurch.
PMP is scouting for rangatahi around New Zealand to join the accelerator programme.
In Whanganui, they are looking for five young people and five mentors.
Business consultant Chante Botica and her husband, Renata Hakiwai, work with Māori to create collaborations aimed at building business opportunities.
"Me and my husband have seen the need, where there was a bit of a gap in the technology sector, and in the business sector," she said. "And even with our own mahi as business consultants there isn't enough out there to do the work. So now we've got PMP or Programming Maori Potential as a digital technology accelerator.
"It's a hybrid between a hackathon and a start-up weekend and runs over a period of weeks. Teams go through the design, thinking process over six weeks, they work with a mentor, they look at a problem in their community or wider, as a team they come up with a solution with a digital technology lens."
It's hoped the programme will attract more young Māori into the tech industry, which is sometimes not their first choice.
"A lot of our rangatahi Māori don't see themselves in the tech industry or the business industry and what I'm trying to do with this kaupapa is break down some barriers, break down some stereotypes, I want to normalise these kinds of things," Botica said.
The event was facilitated by AGC Training for Industry and Sandor Chernoff said it's not just the students who benefit.
"The most important thing for this event for teachers is that they come and form relationships and connections with these local businesses who are willing to participate with their school and their kura.
"The message that we give to everybody is, go and make the connections, go and get the hookups for your school, all these providers are really keen to engage not just this year but every year."
The benefit of closer relationships between the world of work and students was evident on the day.
The kura had invited seniors from Whanganui's mainstream schools to join the event, providing an opportunity to meet over lunch, a hangi for 400.
"It started last year," Tukapua said. "The kids put their hand up and wanted to go to the police force. At that time the police said that weren't taking candidates straight out of school. I hear today that's changed."
For information about the PMP digital startup accelerator or work brokerage, rangatahi can see their school Careers Advisor or visit the website - www.pmp.nz.
Made with funding from