Careers New Zealand’s “Industry Big Day Out” programme which helps employers, teachers and students link together better, is helping young New Zealanders make informed choices about their careers.

Phil Matthews, Director of Universal Engineering, said the programme enabled his company to link up with enthusiastic students and their schools.

Already over 300 young people and their teachers have been involved in the programme which gives students an opportunity to explore different industries and different employers so they can make informed career choices.

“Our mandate covers both the world of work and of education,” says Careers New Zealand’s Chief Executive Keith Marshall.

“We provide a unique perspective. With the Industry Big Day Out programme we focus on helping improve the transition period – that time when young people are thinking about what’s next for them – and what does it involve in the way of further education and/or work opportunities.”

Students say the programme gives them a way to talk to people in industry and “see how much passion they have for their work” while teachers say their students are making work experience and training choices as a result of being involved in the programme so it’s clear the programme is having the right effect.

IBDOs have been run in Gisborne, the Hawkes Bay and Porirua and will be expanded across New Zealand over the coming year.

The programme is a step up from a usual “work experience scheme” because it links local employers with schools, students and tertiary training providers, Keith says.

“It gives an integrated and innovative taste of career choices, which is industry specific too. In particular employers can showcase their industry and the careers available in it. While young people and their teachers can look over potential careers and find out more about what is involved and what training would be needed.” Keith says.

He says the IBDO programme is part of a comprehensive suite of initiatives provided by Careers New Zealand to help young people manage the transition from school to employment or higher education and training.

“It’s part of our work to get people “career-ready.” Keith says.