Education and employment on the breakfast menu

Published on 15 August 2023


The Waitaki Pathways Leadership Breakfast, hosted at the Brydone Hotel, saw local principals, teachers and businesses connect with organisations providing pathways into employment for young people in the district on Tuesday morning.

Five minute presentations were given on a range of topics, from employment needs of the Dunedin Hospital build, Growing Future Farmers programme and film-making and screenwriting in the Otago-Southland region.

Speakers included Kerry Ryan, Principal Advisor at the Ministry of Education, Stephen Geddes of the Tertiary Education Commission, and Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher.

The Mayor presented detail on the Mayor’s Taskforce for Jobs, ensuring rangatahi had work placement opportunities in the district.

Mayor Kircher: “It’s good for everyone working in the space of rangatahi, our young people, to be aware of what’s available. It’s good for schools to know what programmes and support mechanisms are there for them and their young people. It’s a great opportunity to connect”

Attendees also heard from former Waitaki Girls and Waitaki Boys students Jessica Smaill, Blain Hamilton and Inoke Naufahu on their transition from full time education to full time employment in the district.

Ryan Fraser, Principal of Ardgowan School said “As a principal we try and engage our kids in our community. To be able to sit down with community leaders and talk to them gives us an opportunity to connect with them, and get our kids connected to the community”

Local business owners were also pleased at the range of support available to them, and provided to young people, to support them into the workforce.

Bevan Smith, founder of Riverstone Kitchen, said “It’s really useful to find out how much support there is behind the scenes from local government and the different agencies. As an employer we are crying out for motivated individuals to join our business, and we can do the rest. Knowing those pathways, where we can reach out and make those connections is really important”