UCOL Te Pūkenga is celebrating the largest event to ever hit their Manawatū campus – not to mention being one of the top five largest career expos in the country this year. On Wednesday over 1200 secondary students from 22 central and lower North Island schools joined the fun with Career Talks @ UCOL Te Pūkenga. The one-day expo brought together employers, organisations, and study providers from around the country.
UCOL Te Pūkenga organised the expo, in partnership with Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA). “Within the Manawatū-Whanganui region over the last eighteen months there’s been a lack of career expos and no ability for our school leavers to have career focused conversations with tertiary providers and employers. It’s crucial that we connect with students in our rohe and highlight the study and career pathways available before they leave school, so the team knew we had to step up to fill this space,” said Tessa Lyons, Head of Marketing & Brand, UCOL Te Pūkenga.
Students had a chance to experience what life on the other side of Year 13 could look like with 40 external exhibitors and 25 UCOL Te Pūkenga sites – each showing the skills and experience to be gained across the five vocational pathways. “We had representatives from New Zealand Police, Massey University, New Zealand Defence Force, Palmerston North City Council, Horizons Regional Council, Manawatū District Council, Sport Manawatū, BECA, Higgins, Pūkaha Wildlife Centre, Fisherprint – you name it, we had it covered,” added Lyons.
Besides local employers and study providers, support services like the UCOL Te Pūkenga Te Mana Tauira, Raukura and Student Success Teams, Workbridge, Volunteer Central, Mana Whaikaha, and Ministry of Social Development (MSD) were also a part of the event, educating students about how they can get support during their study or contribute back to the community.
Whanganui Girls’ College students Joeloa Hylton and Sophie Archer at Career Talks @ UCOL Te Pūkenga
“It was a lot of fun – a different experience for us,” said Whanganui Girls’ College student Joeloa Hylton. Meanwhile her classmate Ajah Kemp was particularly impressed by the science laboratory tour UCOL Te Pūkenga provided. She said it was the highlight of her experience, and gave her a feel for what she may pursue in the future.
Rangitīkei College students Deborah Pio and Niva Manulua Lafi at Career Talks @ UCOL Te Pūkenga
For Rangitīkei College student Deborah Pio, she enjoyed that there was something new for her to learn at each exhibitor she approached.
It wasn’t all serious discussion though – in between connecting with future employers and study options, students also enjoyed the perks of UCOL Te Pūkenga student life, with a free BBQ, candy floss, and $2 ice-creams. Also popular was the UCOL Te Pūkenga green screen photo wall and a live DJ, organised by the UCOL Te Pūkenga Student Success team.