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Youth inspired to aspire


Exhibitors from around the country were in Hokitika on Wednesday 15 February for the second Inspire to Aspire careers expo event created by Westland Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ). Approximately 1200 attendees visited the event, including approximately 800 years 7 – 13 students from throughout Westland and Greymouth. Some funding for transportation costs was provided by Development West Coast to ensure that students from all around the district could attend.

Charlotte Bradley-Peni, Westland Mayors Taskforce for Jobs Coordinator says, “Inspire to Aspire is the largest rural careers fair in New Zealand, as far as I’m aware, and one of the largest by square meterage, exhibitor numbers and youth attendees per head of population. It is so successful for the district, that if funding allows we intend to hold it as a biennial event.

Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, which is part of the wider youth employment initiative, the Rural Community Resilience Programme, that enables Mayors to join the Ministry of Social Development and Local Government New Zealand in supporting young people into meaningful employment. To date, the Westland programme has supported 230 youth into employment opportunities and in excess of 100 industry training opportunities within Westland.

We were lucky to have LGNZ Mayors Taskforce for Jobs Programme Manager Emma Anderson, MSD Key Account Manager Corporate Industry Partnerships Nicola Anderson and Programme Coordinator Rinette van Kradenburg join us from Wellington.

Inspire to Aspire is not about just showcasing educational pathways it’s also to present what real opportunities are available in different industries. Each exhibitor provided hands-on activities to encourage engagement in discussion with youth and allow them to hone in on their interpersonal skills.

Local businesses sponsored prizes for the Most Inspirational and Most Interactive exhibitors. Being independent of the event and exhibitors LGNZ Mayors Taskforce for Jobs Programme Manager Emma Anderson judged the awards and awarded prizes to:

  • Most Inspirational - Hokitika Museum, which had a photo booth, and demonstrate with passion clear pathways to jobs within the industry and engaged youth in a deep and inspirational manner.
  • Most interactive Edwards and Hardy Roofing, who stepped youth through the process of securing roofing iron in a safe and secure manner. They also teamed up with their ITO, Vertical Horizonz offering a clear pathway on how to become a qualified Roofer.

Both exhibits received a visa Prezzy Card sponsored by Cuffs Ltd a sash and glass trophy

We were really lucky that the weather was perfect but we were mindful that whilst we were enjoying the day other parts of the country were experiencing devastating weather! Unfortunately, it meant that some exhibitors were unable to attend but we hope they will be at the next one.

The event was run by the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs team: myself, Lydia Baylis-Harcourt, Business Support Officer, and Pascale Geoffrion, Youth Facilitator, who worked hard to make sure that the day ran really well.”

Westland Mayor, Helen Lash spent the day at the event engaging with students and exhibitors. “The Inspire to Aspire careers day had my full support. It is a fantastic initiative. We are incredibly lucky that this team is so dedicated to producing an event that showcases to our youth the many opportunities available for them, whether educational or vocational, to give them the confidence to find their place in the workforce when they leave school.”

Some activities at the exhibition booths included:

  • FENZ kitting out youth in full Fire Safety gear and using the Fire Hose.
  • Westland Milk Products did a PPE time trial.
  • Census NZ introduced youth to DJing and street art classes.
  • West Coast Emergency Management brought along their emergency Management Tent and the Earthquake trailer.
  • Skin and Body by Jasmin taught youth about the art of Beauty Therapy.
  • Snap Fitness taught youth the importance of correct technique and held a push up competition.
  • Planning Department of Westland District Council offered youth the opportunity to learn about the planning pathway.
  • Wild for Knots taught the art of Macramé.
  • Regan Tamanui, Australian-based Stencil Artist, taught the process of stencil art and design.
  • NZ Home Loans advised on Financial Literacy to bridge a gap in youth knowledge.
  • Go with Tourism and the Police brought their virtual reality headsets.
  • Westroads Ltd showcased a digger and truck.
  • Vimo showcased all terrain wheelchairs offering youth the opportunity to test drive and learn about how to become an inventor.
  • Crusaders Academy Manager and former Westland High School Student Paul Galland attended with Te Pukenga – Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

Students attended from:

  • Westland High School
  • South Westland Area School
  • Mary’s Primary School
  • Arahura Kura (recently opened by Davida Simpson in the Arahura Valley)
  • Franz Josef School
  • Greymouth High School
  • John Paul II
  • Home schools


Photos: Hannah Gardiner Photography

Media enquiries to:

Emma Rae, Strategy and Communications Advisor