Expanding local options for school leavers

Joint venture . . . BCITO business development adviser for sport Dion Waller (kneeling front) and community members come together to hear about the partnership with North Otago Rugby Union to keep school leavers in the district for work and sport. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Live local, work local, play local.

That is the aim of a new partnership between Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) and the North Otago Rugby Union to keep secondary school leavers in the Waitaki district to take up trade apprenticeships, work opportunities and play rugby. It also aims to bring more school leavers into the district to take up employment.

BCITO business development adviser for sport Dion Waller spoke to representatives from the union, businesses, organisations, and secondary schools at Whitestone Contracting Stadium before Saturday’s Heartland Championship match.

Mr Waller, a former player for the Hurricanes and the All Blacks, said it was a ‘‘really positive’’ interaction with the community, regarding the initiative.

‘‘There’s lots of work in Oamaru, to the point of, there’s even opportunities for people to move to Oamaru,’’ Mr Waller said.

‘‘There’s an opportunity to [show] kids around New Zealand, that you can take your sport and move to Oamaru to get an opportunity.’’

Secondary school ‘‘geared up’’ its pupils for university, polytechnics or further study, but not everyone wanted to take that path, he said.

‘‘We know that [there’s] 30 to 40%, let’s say, success rate into uni, and the rest of the kids need an opportunity given to them for employment.’’

Tying sport and employment together was beneficial, as many skills taught in sport could be transferred to the workforce.

‘‘What we learn at sport gives us confidence around team work, mates, friendship, working together as a pack. We’re getting our kids to believe you can leave school together, join a sports club together and work . . . together.’’

North Otago Rugby chief executive Colin Jackson said the union was grateful and ‘‘very enthusiastic’’ about BCITO aligning with the union.

‘‘Local and national school leavers will now have a well-resourced pathway to obtain apprenticeships via our rugby clubs at the union,’’ he said.

‘‘BCITO will be a conduit between the employee (apprentice) and employer once clubs have identified potential job opportunities with Waitaki companies.