What's your employer doing and what are your areas of responsibility?
I work in the Employer, Business and Industry team at the Ministry of Education. We specialise in connecting schools across the country with employers, industries and other organisations. As part of the Review of vocational education programme, the Ministry has granted schools and trades organisations funds to run events that promote vocational pathways.
What are YOU exactly doing?
I coordinate school and trades events in multiple regions: Auckland, Taranaki, Tai Tokerau, Nelson and the South Island. My daily work includes me contacting schools and trades[RT1] organisations to confirm event plans and ensure they are compliant with Ministry requirements. I also provide support and advice around how an event can be successful and link schools with other people within the Ministry that can offer support.
Does a teenager understand what you are doing?
Schools are proactive in ensuring their tamariki are looked after. They also try and accommodate their events around everyone. It is fantastic to see the amount of effort schools put into ensuring their tamariki get the best opportunities.
What's your background?
I was born and raised in Samoa. I migrated to New Zealand when I was about 7 years old. Wellington has been my second home ever since. I am in my last leg of my law degree at Victoria University and have been very blessed to work at the Ministry of Education for over two and a half years now. I interned in policy and also worked in the general ministerial and governance team. My current role was not planned. I intended to not work in my last year of university but a friend of mine sent me the job description and I immediately applied. The project intrigued me as it meant I could directly contact schools and provide advice around what works best for young people as I am myself 5 years out of high school. Before the Ministry, I worked at a health and fitness clinic where my passion for health and wellbeing derives from as well. It is very important to branch out and explore options before settling. I love to help people, so I knew the education and legal system both were the best way to support and help people on a large scale.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Most definitely. My current role requires a lot of communication, time management and people skills. I say yes because these are skills people learn every day.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
The organisation and the management of over 400 events is super cool! To know and see so many different ways schools are holding their events shows how they adapt and challenge the traditional view of career expos etc. I also get to talk to a lot of employers and providers. They provide so many insights on how badly they want young people to work within their organisations but they just don’t know to get them in. Providing answers and ways to get students in is rewarding.
What are the limitations of your job?
Sometimes every day seems the same. It is difficult to try and change your routine and the kind of work you do. However, aside of coordinating events, you’re also working on projects. The most recent one was developing an Online Digital Event Programme for schools to use due to COVID-19. Another one was doing research on ways we can help teachers connect with employers by providing an Employer Engagement Toolkit.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
The most important advice would be “don’t take everything so seriously” because life is full of learning curves. You have to take them with a light heart and a good sense of humor. Also remember that failure is never a setback or a reason to give up. Failures are opportunities that will make you courageous and resilient. Lastly, always trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, it most likely isn’t.