TAFE carpentry teacher Peter Fitzpatrick watches as Byron Bay High School students Erin West (right) and Shannen McClymont, both 15, try their hand at carpentry at the Northern Rivers Careers Expo at the Lismore City Hall yesterday.
TAFE carpentry teacher Peter Fitzpatrick watches as Byron Bay High School students Erin West (right) and Shannen McClymont, both 15, try their hand at carpentry at the Northern Rivers Careers Expo at the Lismore City Hall yesterday. Cathy Adams

Trading school for experience

HUNDREDS of school students from Grafton to Tweed Heads descended on the Lismore City Hall yesterday in search of jobs and training.

And hundreds more are expected today as the 7th annual Northern Rivers Careers Expo winds up for this year.

Year 10 student Erin West, of Byron Bay, said she planned to complete her HSC and go to university, although she had yet to decide what she wanted to study.

But yesterday she definitively ruled out a career in carpentry after having a go at planing a piece of wood at the popular Try a Trade section at the expo.

“Carpentry is a bit boring,” she said.

Shannen McClymont, also of Byron Bay, who also tried her hand at woodworking with Erin, said she was more interested in teaching or nursing as a future career.

Expo organiser Ashley Burke-Smith said the event aimed to tackle the skills shortages and unemployment by showcasing the range of career options to the next generation of employees.

He said that this was particularly important after a change in Federal Government policy, which means anyone under the age of 18 must now be at school, be in employment, or be enrolled in some other training course.

“That’s why we have the Try a Trade section were students can get hands-on experience with lots of educational institutions like TAFE, Southern Cross University and James Cook University,” he said.

Kadina High student Sam Jeffery said he was interested in a course in sound engineering.

A bass player, Sam said he wanted a career in the music industry, but was well aware jobs in that area were few and far between – hence the course that could provide him with one of the sought-after jobs.



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