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Last modified: 29 Jul 2020 10:37am

Two students in black puffer jackets and black hair sit with backs to camera reading something on a grey table opposite a woman and a man

It was all about connections as 29 school leavers tried to woo potential employers from 12 businesses at a speed dating style event in West Melton.

The Council-run event last week was organised to help Year 12 and 13 school leavers meet employers and hopefully get a job.

The students had five minutes to meet with each business, with each side marking if they were interested afterwards and Council staff matching up where both student and business were keen to talk more.

The aim was to support young people and keep them in the district, Council Community and Economic Development senior advisor Clare Quirke says. “We know with young people leaving school, if they don’t get into employment or training that can be a time when problems begin. Meeting potential employers is a stressful thing, especially if you’re doing it for the first time, so the speed dating idea gives it a bit of fun in a neutral setting.”

Sonia Rawson from trucking company Canterbury Bulk Freight says they were keen on the chance to support young people and the day went well. “We’ve been quite surprised by the amount of them that are interested. It’s an opportunity for them to sit down with an employer they might not normally approach, and whether they go with this industry or just build some confidence because they have spoken to an adult about a job that’s good.”

Darfield High School careers advisor Jo Ager says the five students she brought had appreciated the chance and had their eyes opened to jobs they didn’t know about before.  “These guys were super nervous, but the employers have been impressed with the students that sat in front of them.” The event was run with advice from the Ministry of Education and Otago District Council, which have successfully held similar events.