CATE > Case Studies > South Canterbury Year 11 Pathways Expo

South Canterbury Year 11 Pathways Expo


South Canterbury Y11 Pathways Expo
Year 11—approximately 750 students from Timaru Girls’ High School, Timaru Boys’ High School, Craighead Diocesan School, Roncalli College, Mountainvew High School, Opihi College, Geraldine High School, Waimate High School, Mackenzie College, Twizel Area School. 

About the Event:
This is a speed networking event (not sure why we call it an Expo) aimed at exposing the students to a wide range of local industries, exciting them about their own future pathways and helping empower them to make informed and meaningful decisions.

It is a joint initiative between CATE and our local Education to Employment Broker who works for Venture Timaru (Economic Development Agency). It is an annual event and this year will be the fifth time it has run.

All local Secondary Schools in the wider South Canterbury Region attend. It is compulsory for all Year 11 students from these Schools, which is approximately 750 students. Schools are assigned one of three slots throughout the day and they each spend 1.5 hours at the event.

The event is compulsory for all Year 11 students and we have excellent support from the schools. We try to select a wide range of businesses so students are exposed to a number of diverse career pathways.

We chose Year 11 students as many do not know what they want to do at that age, yet they are also ready to explore options.

We have fantastic support from our local business community with many returning each year. Last year we had 35 businesses present. Students are placed in small groups and sit at round tables with a business. The businesses then rotate every 7 minutes. Prompt questions are on the table and we find that this format encourages students to engage more, than a traditional style Expo.

We have a number of guest speakers, including recent school leavers, apprentices, graduates who have returned to the region and prominent business people. We also have a quiz, prizes and a chance for students to visit business at the end.

Session Breakdown

● MC Welcome (5 minutes)

● Guest Speaker 1 (5 minutes)

● 3 x 7 Minute Rotations (25 mins)

● 5 x Questions/Spot Prizes (5 minutes)

● Guest Speaker 2 (5 minutes)

● 3 x 7 Minute Rotations (25 mins)

● 5 x Questions/Spot Prizes (5 minutes)

● Visit Employers Stands (15 minutes)

We provide Morning Tea, Lunch & Afternoon Tea for the businesses and a Coffee Cart (complimentary) is also present throughout the day.

Each year we try to get a wide range of local businesses, covering the different vocational pathways. The Expo continues to grow in size & in 2022 we had 35 businesses present:

Pleasant Point Primary School, Presbyterian Support South Canterbury, Barkers, CoombridgeIndustries Ltd, Rangers Specialist Coatings, NZ Defence Force, Multicultural Aoraki, Timaru District Council, Enliven, Farm Source, Fulton Hogan, BCITO, Family Works, Sanford, Genesis Energy, Motor Trade Association, Ara, Bellbird Hearing, Careerforce, Fonterra, Industrial Controls, South Island Organ Company, South Canterbury Aero Club, Vetlife, South Canterbury District Health Board, Oceania, Resene, Thompsons, APM, Alpine Energy, Pye Group, Scarlett Hydraulics, Go with Tourism, NZ Police, Connected.

Overall we had a high level of engagement and enjoyment with positive feedback from Students after which was collected via a Google Form Survey. We try to make the event as fun & engaging as possible so they have the chance to network with a wide range of local Businesses.

After attending the 2022 Expo:

●​91.5% of students felt better informed about a range of local businesses

●​87.6% felt more informed about the types of skills Employers/Businesses are looking for

Students often have follow up discussions with Careers Advisers, Teachers back at School. Some go on to employment, further study or Gateway placements as a result of discussions/meetings they have at the Expo.

Staff often sit at the tables with the students, so it is also an opportunity for them to find out about a wide range of career pathways, entry requirements, skills that employers are looking for etc. Fantastic PD opportunity or Staff too. We always receive positive feedback from Teaching Staff following the Expo.

Some of the main challenges to running this event is we found timetabling difficult, especially trying to make it work for all schools on a tight timeframe.

With businesses, sometimes they pull out at the last minute due to short staffing etc, so be prepared to be flexible.

Cost-wise, transporting students to the venue comes at a price, although schools could probably use STAR funding.

Make sure you have a supportive organising committee in order to share the load.

The cost was approximately $10,000, but it could be run on less.

Major costs included:

● Buses (for all students/schools)—$3500

● Venue & Seating Hire—$5000

● Food & Drinks (for Employers)—$1500

We were fortunate to secure $21,000 from the Ministry of Education Contestable Fund for Vocational Events which we used to fund the Expo in 2021 & 2022.

Prior to that Venture Timaru (EDA & E2E service) provided funding. 

To make it cheaper, individual schools could fund their own buses.

We recommend you go for it! It is such a valuable event and if you have a good team around you, it will make the workload easier. Definitely start organising early and be prepared to contact a large number of businesses, as not everyone will be able to commit to the event. 

Good, clear communication with businesses and schools is important.

Encourage schools to facilitate some pre-teaching and post-teaching on either side of the event. For example:

● What are some of the key businesses in South Canterbury?

● What do they do (products/services)?

● What would be some of the role/job titles in these Businesses?

● What entry-level positions do you think they might have?

● What skills do you think Employers look for when hiring Staff?

● What are you keen to find out more about?

● What questions could you ask the businesses?

Encourage staff who attend the event to join in on conversations so they can learn about different career pathways too. It is also a great way to get to know students in a different setting.

Make sure students are neatly presented & well behaved, as businesses will judge students & schools on their appearance & behaviour. 

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