Glenn Davis is driving a campaign to see work experience offered and be easily accessible to students attending schools in the Mid Coast region.
This week he spoke to year 9 and 10 Taree Christian College students about career pathways that do not require university attendance, and advocated to students the need to also consider traineeships, apprenticeships and on-the-job-training. The Distinctive Building Co owner thinks “schools are so focused on year 11 course selection, ATAR and university” and it drove his decision to create the first Taree Careers and Trades Day.
The choice to speak to students at the school follows the “outstanding success” of the event at Taree PCYC on Saturday, December 1. Glenn rallied more than 30 local businesses to participate and between 9am and 1pm he said more than 250 students attended with their families.
“It was a fantastic day. Peter Bolte from Taree Bi-Rite did a count and at 10am we had 132 students in the hall at the PCYC. You’d have to estimate that probably double that figure, maybe 250 – 300 kids came through on the day,” Glenn said.
I can confirm that four businesses out of the day are going to be taking on students to do work experience ... plumbing, electrical, painting, and with us.- Glenn Davis, owner Distinctive Building Co
“For a first time event it was a lot better than I expected. The only negative, if I can even call it that, was that the number of female students visiting was low.
“The energy and enthusiasm from the people who attended and businesses was absolutely amazing.”
Harris AC and Electrical was one of the businesses to make staff available to discuss the air-conditioning and electrical trades industry, and Lara Harris described the day as “absolutely amazing”.
“This was my first expo and I found it incredible. The kids were engaging, they came with their résumé ready-to-go, they knew exactly what they wanted and why they wanted it, which is fantastic to find in a local community,” Lara said.
“A lot of kids I normally find are a little bit ‘iffy’ about what they want to do .. they want to try a couple of things ... but these kids, they know exactly what they want, they just don’t know where to find it. I can’t wait for next year’s (event), we will definitely be back.”
Jenny McKenzie from Sarino Russo Apprenticeships described the first Taree Careers and Trades Day as “the best expo that I have been to all year, and I have been to all of the ones at the schools.”
She said the students “were engaged, they were asking questions, they were actually interested.”
“The ones (career days) at the schools, (students) tend to be herded through in their school groups and all it’s about is what they can grab; they grab a bag full of paper that I’m sure they probably never look at again.”
Glenn will now seek to work with local businesses and schools to discuss student access to work experience.
“In general, most parents expressed disappointment in the schools and the ability for students to do work experience. It was not just one school, it was a general consensus from parents of students at numerous schools.
“The push is going to continue, we are going to keep on with this. We will plan for a second event but right now we need parents to raise the issue of work experience with schools.”
Did you know the Manning River Times is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: SIGN UP HERE.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.