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Source: UCOL

UCOL’s celebrating the largest event to ever hit their Manawatū campus – not to mention being one of the top five largest career expos in the country this year. On Wednesday over 1200 secondary students from 22 central and lower North Island schools joined the fun with Career Talks @ UCOL. The one-day expo brought together employers, organisations, and study providers from around the country.

UCOL organised the expo, in partnership with Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA). “Within the Manawatū-Whanganui region over the last eighteen months there’s been a lack of career expos and no ability for our school leavers to have career focused conversations with tertiary providers and employers. It’s crucial that we connect with students in our rohe and highlight the study and career pathways available before they leave school, so the team knew we had to step up to fill this space,” said Tessa Lyons, Head of Marketing & Brand, UCOL.

Students had a chance to experience what life on the other side of Year 13 could look like with 40 external exhibitors and 25 UCOL sites – each showing the skills and experience to be gained across the five vocational pathways. “We had representatives from New Zealand Police, Massey University, New Zealand Defence Force, Palmerston North City Council, Horizons Regional Council, Manawatū District Council, Sport Manawatū, BECA, Higgins, Pūkaha Wildlife Centre, Fisherprint – you name it, we had it covered,” added Lyons.

Besides local employers and study providers, support services like UCOL’s Te Mana Tauira, Raukura and Student Success Teams, Workbridge, Volunteer Central, Mana Whaikaha, and Ministry of Social Development (MSD) were also a part of the event, educating students about how they can get support during their study or contribute back to the community.

“It was a lot of fun – a different experience for us,” said Whanganui Girls’ College student Joeloa Hylton. Meanwhile her classmate Ajah Kemp was particularly impressed by the science laboratory tour UCOL provided. She said it was the highlight of her experience, and gave her a feel for what she may pursue in the future.

For Rangitīkei College student Deborah Pio, she enjoyed that there was something new for her to learn at each exhibitor she approached.

It wasn’t all serious discussion though – in between connecting with future employers and study options, students also enjoyed the perks of UCOL student life, with a free BBQ, candy floss, and $2 ice-creams. Also popular was the UCOL green screen photo wall and a live DJ, organised by UCOL’s Student Success team.


UCOL Ltd is part of Te Pūkenga, New Zealand’s largest tertiary education provider, and globally, the 30th largest provider of vocational education. Together, we aim to provide excellent quality education opportunities that support learners, employers and communities to gain the skills, knowledge and capabilities Aotearoa needs now and for the future.

Across the country, approximately 280,000 people are participating in some form of vocational education and training, supported by about 10,000 full time staff.