Christchurch Careers Expo, 11-13 May at Horncastle Arena, is a golden opportunity to find out about study options by talking to actual tutors and getting to know organisations first hand.
Looking at websites is a great start, but nothing beats meeting the people delivering the programmes. At Ara Institute of Canterbury these people are experts in their field and you can learn a lot by asking them a few questions.
Sure they know about the programmes and pathways to careers, but they also have close links with the industry or sector. This context means that the learning is as relevant as possible. Employers value graduates from Ara because of connection. Industry connections also come in handy for finding productive work placements and for networking so that graduates can find jobs.
If you want to be a nurse, then you need to be learning from tutors who know the theory inside out but have spent many years working on busy hospital wards and have seen it all. If you want to work in cooking, then study with staff who live and breathe cooking – who organise the food for national events such as Te Matatini, are selected for international competition squads and (guest lecturers) run top restaurants. That’s what we mean by leading the sector.
So questions about what industry connections look like for a particular programme are the questions prospective students need to ask. As we all know, getting a qualification is only half of the challenge – getting a start in your chosen career is the other half. Employers will value your hard-won piece of paper but they may well employ based on experience (gained through work placements), enthusiasm (networking and industry events), so-called soft skills (communication and experience working on collaborative projects), innovation (research projects) and work readiness (learning spaces that mimic industry conditions).
You could ask Ara staff leading questions like: what did you enjoy most about this career? What didn’t you enjoy much? How can you progress your career in this field? Why should I choose Ara?
Go on, quiz them! They are there to help you make important decisions about your future.
Questions to ask at Christchurch Careers Expo: