News

News

September 6th, 2012

Open Day aims to open career doors

All too often the university option is the preferred pathway for secondary school graduates. But all too often this proves to be the wrong decision – an academic pathway isn’t suited to everyone. What’s needed is a greater awareness of vocational pathways, and that’s why Competenz is hosting two Careers Open Days. The first Open Day will be run with technology students and teachers from Aorere College and Papatoetoe High School, in Auckland. And a second will take place in Christchurch with Hillmorton High School and Linwood College. Career Advisors from neighbouring schools will also attend. “It’s a chance to expose these groups to what goes on behind the scenes in the Engineering and Manufacturing industries. They can discover how a plant works, how products are produced, and talk to employers and apprentices about their jobs,” says Fiona Kingsford, General Manager of Trades at Competenz. The Auckland Open Day will include a tour Grayson Engineering, one of the best equipped structural fabrication, plate cutting, and mechanical fabrication workshops in New Zealand, and a tour of Stevenson, a leading provider of equipment and heavy engineering solutions for the mining and construction industries. Students in Christchurch will visit HamiltonJet, the pioneers and developers of the modern waterjet over 50 years ago, and a tour of Lyttelton Engineering, a leading marine and industrial/fabrication facility. The Open Day comes at a particularly pertinent time to Christchurch, where many companies are being forced to import skills from overseas to meet rebuild demands, and are struggling to find quality apprentice candidates. “We hope that this opportunity will leave people more informed about what goes on in Engineering and Manufacturing. A trades career is a highly skilled career which in many cases requires high mechanical reasoning, numeracy and literacy skills to build and operate advanced machinery,” says Fiona. The schools participating in the Open Days have all applied for ‘Competenz Accredited’ status. This means their technology departments will undergone an assessment to prove they meet strict industry standards – helping make the transition from school to the workplace smoother. “We need to make it clear what attributes make a successful tradesperson, so these kids can be identified and can start getting industry ready at school,” says Fiona. “Without this happening, who will be there to work in the trades that form the lynchpin of New Zealand’s economy? – it’s something we need to think about.”