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Students go speed dating at employment expo

Warwick Smith/Stuff

Trades students talk to industry reps in a speed-dating style event at UCOL’s second annual employment expo on Wednesday.

Hundreds of students have turned out to UCOL’s second annual employment expo to check out recruitment opportunities, ranging from police to health care and business organisations.

The bulk of Wednesday’s expo, with 27 exhibitors, was held in UCOL’s atrium on King St. Over in the trades block, on the other side of Princess St, 10 trades and construction employers met with students to discuss future opportunities.

UCOL employability co-ordinator Ty Weeks said the polytechnic started the expo to help students plan their next steps beyond study.

Since the polytechnic had a strong and popular trades programme, and those students often knew pretty well where they were headed, it made sense to give them a side event for more in-depth discussions.

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The atrium side of the expo was a standard jobs fair, with employers trying to attract students to their booths.

The trades section was different, organised like a speed-dating meet up.

Groups of students sat around a table with company recruiters, asking questions and discussing potential job openings until the blast of an air horn told them to cycle through to the next firm’s table.

Carpentry student Phoenix-Lee Wymer,17, thought the speed-dating format was a great idea.

It gave everyone a good chance to talk to all the employers. Doing it in a group was helpful because someone might ask a question you hadn’t thought of.

Wymer came to the expo looking for something that might give her an edge in the job hunt when her course finished.

“It’s nice to know what kind of people they’re looking for when hiring and how I can build a career.”

She was surprised to learn a lot of employers were keen on carpenters who had a forklift licence.

Conveniently, the National Driver Training Centre, which offers forklift training, had a booth at the main expo area in the atrium across the road.

Wymer said she planned to head over and look into signing up, after she finished doing the rounds in the trade block.

Diploma of construction student James Kang said the format gave students a good chance to connect with the employers.

He was interested in making a good impression on the recruiters from HEB Construction and engineering consultants Beca.

“They’re currently doing some infrastructure work for [the Government’s] shovel-ready projects, which would be a big opportunity to work on.”


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