Menzies College year 13 pupils are the first in Southland to benefit from a new Ministry of Social Development programme to help young people find employment success.
Firebrand Holdings have the contract to implement the Youth Employment Success (Yes) programme on behalf of the ministry.
The programme was launched in May 2016 in Dunedin.
Firebrand Holdings Yes ambassador Rosie Ward said rather than have pupils take part in the traditional career expo held in a hall, the event took pupils directly to employers and gave them a first-hand opportunity to look around businesses.
“There is real value in providing opportunities for young people to access employers and hear what it actually takes to get into the industry, as well as having any of their questions answered,” Miss Ward said.
The pupils visited six Yes Eastern Southland employers: Hokonui Runanga, Gore Health, Sign Advertising, Community Networking Trust, Mataura Licensing Trust and Mataura Valley Milk.
Menzies College assistant principal Pete Wilkinson said the day was part of a leadership retreat for year 13 pupils.
“Part of the retreat is a careers focus and the opportunity came up with the Yes group to visit various work places around the Eastern Southland,” he said.
The pupils found the experience useful, he said.
“They were asking real inquisitive questions, probing questions of the different people who were presenting.
“It’s about opening students’ eyes to opportunities, and for some students it’s as much as finding out what they don’t want to be involved with in the future as much as it is reaffirming what they do.”
Menzies College head boy Hayden Stuart (17) said he found the day very helpful.
“It was a really good opportunity for us year 13s to get around Gore and see what some of the businesses have to offer for us.
“It was interesting to hear that the main thing a lot of the employers look for is the attitude towards wanting to work and learning, so that was probably quite good for us to find out,” Hayden said.
Fifteen pupils visited Sign Advertising.
Production manager Christina Sandford said she found the visit worthwhile from an employer’s point of view.
“It was actually really great to have a group of kids that really want to be there and were interested in learning.
“They asked quite a few good questions – they seemed to want to know the industry.”