When thinking about her future Gillian Bowler, a movie-loving Year 13 student from Marton, could see a career in broadcasting and film on the horizon. With her involvement in an innovative pilot called Aspire, Rangitikei College is now offering 10 students the chance to trial the new programme.

Driven by Gillian and deputy principal Jeff King, Aspire aims to give students the opportunity to experience work environments they don’t have access to normally.

Mr King says the school looks for those who have a passion for something and are often school leaders or good communicators to join the programme.

“We then work with them to help explore how their passions can turn into a career and get students out of their comfort zones, dipping them in the daily realities of the working world.

“For students this means regular Friday trips to Wellington where they spend a day shadowing a mentor in their field of interest.”

Their work placements are across a range of head offices and blue-chip industries and are designed to showcase aspects of the workplace their school and teachers cannot do.

Gillian spends her days at New Zealand Media and Entertainment with sound engineer James Irwin, listening in on radio broadcasts and assisting with voiceover recordings for ads.

Gillian said she was nervous on her first visit.

“I just soaked it all up. It’s quite surreal. Here’s little old me from Marton down there in Wellington doing something I wouldn’t normally get a shot at doing.”

Mr King says showing students where they come from has no bearing on their dreams is a key part of the programme’s mission.

“I’ve seen our kids who participate in the young enterprise programme doubt themselves in the local comps and then when they get to regional comps and experience success, they realise they’re just as good as anyone from larger, urban schools.

“Aspire helps them see themselves in another setting and discover there’s a whole lot more out there we teachers don’t know. It broadens their horizons, giving them contacts and networks they can start to use as they move into their career training.”

The Aspire team hope in time their pilot will be highly scalable and transferable to other schools looking to give students similar real-world opportunities.

“It’s very hands-on with real people – the experience is great and I feel lucky to be apart of it,” Gilliansaid.

Source: Wanganui Chronicle

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