Whether it was learning how to check someone’s blood pressure or getting under the hood of a car for the first time, there was something for every student at UCOL’s recent Taster Day workshops. More than 300 Year 10 students attended the events, coming together from ten different schools.
The hands-on workshops were organised in partnership with REAP Wairarapa and YETE (Youth in Education, Training or Employment), with additional support from the Ministry of Education and Te Uru Rākau – Forestry New Zealand.
Each day gave students the chance to take part in multiple interactive workshops, covering areas such as animal care, beauty, forestry, automotive, early childhood, construction, nursing, hospitality, hairdressing, and primary industries, to name a few.
Students received information on UCOL’s STAR and Trades Academy programmes during the workshops, while activities focused on helping them get a feel for each industry’s career options.
For UCOL’s Taratahi team, this meant bringing the great outdoors indoors, with a working bee hive to teach the basics of bee-keeping. The students also indulged in creating beeswax candles to take home with them. “The students had a blast!” says UCOL’S U-Skills Coordinator, Rachel Hope.
“One of the best things about this year’s workshops was that the stereotypes fell away. All students had a go at things that they would not normally try. I had a group of six girls who really enjoyed automotive and were going home to ask their Dads if they could tinker with their car. On the other hand, many of the boys really enjoyed makeup because they got to do faces with theatrical makeup or had fun watching their tutor create some amazing face art,” Hope added.
For Baxter Ferguson, a student from Rathkeale College, this ‘give it a go’ approach paid off. “Much to my surprise, my favourite class was makeup and skincare,” says Ferguson. Thanks to the Beauty workshop and Gemma Bleach, Senior Beauty tutor, Ferguson got to sport a unique deer face-paint design. One of his friends nearly went home with a full skull and crossbones – but he washed it off because “he didn’t want to freak anyone out during his bus ride home!”
Laurence Rehutai of Te Uru Rākau – Forestry New Zealand also carried out introductory workshops on what a career in the forestry industry is like.
“Our objective with this year’s Taster Days was to ensure that we extend all our support to local secondary students,” says UCOL Wairarapa’s Deputy Director Operations, Steve Griffin. “Each session was designed to get them involved, get them excited about the possibilities in front of them, and help them discover what’s really available for them right here, in our region.”
REAP Wairarapa Liaison, Trudy Sears says, “This annual event is a fantastic opportunity for our education community to partner together and provide a fantastic event for our young people that supports them with positive transitions into further education or employment. The UCOL tutors are really great and providing awesome hands on careers experiences.”