More than 1200 attend Coffs Coast Career Connections expo

Mid Coast Connect CEO Jenny Fraser welcomed more than 1200 students and 64 career champions to the Coffs Coast Career Connections expo.

MORE than 1200 senior students from seventeen local high schools attended the annual Coffs Coast Career Connections expo last week.

They were able to tap into information, knowledge and activities provided by 64 ‘career champions’ and learn about job and higher education options.

The expo is an initiative of not-for-profit Mid Coast Connect.

Volunteers at the event included local Rotary and Business and Professional Women’s Association members.

Mid Coast Connect CEO Jenny Fraser said the day was all about young people gaining an awareness of local opportunities.

“A lot of them don’t know some of these things exist or they don’t understand the career journey they could have – where they can start and finish,” Ms Fraser said.

“The expo began fifteen years ago with local community organisations and businesses realising there’s a need to get the word out. It’s a really good opportunity to show what’s available in the region.”

Toormina High School careers adviser Kerstin Woodward said students appreciated being able to get firsthand information from people working in an industry.

“It’s a great annual event that we always have huge interest from students to attend,” Ms Woodward said.

“Even though we have work experience twice a year for Year 10 students, without this sort of event they’re pretty much left to their own devices to find out about jobs and career information.

“This is a one-stop shop and I’ve never had a student say that coming here wasn’t beneficial.”

Rachel Agostino from Welcome Hospitality, which operates the Moonee Beach Hotel, Sawtell Hotel and Toormina Hotel, said she and her colleagues at the expo were receiving widespread interest from young people thinking about working in hospitality.

“There are lots of transferable skills within the hospitality industry,” Ms Agostino said.

“We do a lot of leadership development, it’s good for boosting your confidence, time management, and conflict resolution.

“We’ve got some awesome career stories.

“We’ve had lots of staff who started with us at sixteen and are now supervisors.”

The Office for Regional Youth also had a stall at the expo, which was part of a ‘life skills’ hub of government agencies.

Representatives provided information about services and support available, including getting a driver’s licence, buying a car, renting a property, being aware of scams and protecting your identity, anti-discrimination, Medicare, and youth allowance and benefits.

Department of Regional NSW Acting Director Charlotte Frew said, “We were proud to be involved in this event, which we hope was valuable for young people in the greater Coffs Coast region in finding their future pathways to employment.”

By Mike HELY

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