More than 1500 secondary school students are heading to Wanganui Racecourse on Friday, May 18, but there aren’t any races on – they’ll be checking out the Whanganui Senior Careers Expo.
More than 50 exhibitors will be setting up at the expo from all sorts of education providers throughout Whanganui and the rest of New Zealand.
It is hosted by 100% Sweet Whanganui, their goal is to get 100 per cent of school leavers engaged in further education, employment and training.
Manager of 100% Sweet Whanganui, Jason Shailer, said achieving these goals was very important.”I look at the figures that are posted on stats websites to see how Whanganui fares against other centres and I know that we’re slightly above the national average for unemployment in youth,” he said.
“We aim to make sure those negative stats that every place has around unemployment and disengagement are addressed in the best way possible on a local level.”
Shailer is a former police officer. He lived in Putaruru before joining the Sweet team in Whanganui in 2016.
The Whanganui Senior Careers Expo is a biannual event. This is the first time Shailer has been involved in organising it after doing a small one with Year 10s last year.
“We’ve got real shortages in our civil construction and forestry industries here. They’re screaming out for employees, so our careers group have made an effort to showcase them,” he said.
“I’ve encouraged the exhibitors to be as interactive as possible, to bring things to touch and play with, some of our civil engineering groups are going to have stuff the kids can climb over, trucks, machines and cranes for example.”
The gates open at 9am, but due to the number of students attending, they will be closed again until 4pm when the expo will be open to the public free of charge for two hours.

By Jesse King Whanganui Chronicle