From ships and science to aeroplanes and apprenticeships – Helen Knight’s career options are taking off.
The 17-year-old Inglewood High School year 13 student has been taking part in the Accelerator programme, an internship and mentoring programme for senior secondary students who wish to discover more about a profession or area of business and commerce.
With an interest in science and engineering, for an hour each week Helen has been placed with Port Taranaki, learning about the company and the various professions the port business incorporates, while getting an understanding of possible career options. She has also attended weekly Accelerator sessions, where she has been mentored by business coaches on areas such as leadership and personal development.
It is the second year Port Taranaki has been involved in the Accelerator programme, which is run by Taranaki Futures with the support of the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce.
“I didn’t know a lot about the port before I went, but it was really interesting,” Helen says. “I learned a lot about how the port operates and got to talk to different people in different areas about what they do.”
Helen has spent time across all the operational and commercial areas of the port, from wharf side operations, engineering, and environmental management, to logistics, human resources, and business management, including spending time with Port Taranaki chief executive Guy Roper.
“It was really interesting seeing the logistics side of the port and what goes on down on the wharf,” Helen says. “Port Taranaki was very cool.”
The Accelerator experience has helped Helen make some decisions about her future and, for now, engineering and university are on hold, with the airforce and an apprenticeship in communications or pilot training looming as possible career paths.
Whatever Helen chooses to do, Port Taranaki senior human resources advisor Catherine Lo-Giacco says programmes, such as Accelerator, are important for young people to get some understanding of a possible career, before they invest a lot of time and money in tertiary education.
“We see it as an important way to support students to make worthwhile career decisions. They can see what the jobs look like and how the business runs,” Catherine says.
“From the port’s perspective it allows the public and young people to understand there’s a huge variety of opportunities here and a diversity of roles,” Catherine says. “We believe it is really valuable to the community and we will continue to support it.”