A Central Otago initiative aimed at providing high school pupils with trade experience is now equipping pupils with skills to get a job in their chosen industry.

The Central Otago Youth Employment Programme (Coyep) held their inaugural employment skills day at the Five Stags Conference Room in Cromwell on Monday.

About 20 pupils from Dunstan High School and Cromwell College heard from four local employers about succeeding in a job, before undertaking a mock job interview with local employers.

Deputy principal of Cromwell College Sarah Hill said this was the first time the Coyep programme had organised such an event.

It had come about following feedback from local employers about what they saw as a need for young workers entering an industry.

The present curriculum did not cover everything to equip a young worker, she said.

‘‘We’re really trying to meet the gap in what’s missing,’’ she said.

Central Otago was a prime place to run Coyep because of the opportunities available to pupils, she said.

‘‘We are a small but very diverse environment.

‘‘In Central Otago, that success is because we have such close relationships with employers.’’

These good relationships meant learning could happen anywhere, not just in a classroom.

In the future, she hoped to see the employment programme spread nationwide.

She thanked all of the employers that made the event possible and supported the pupils in their work experience.

Dunstan High School pupil Noah Bennie said being able to practise for a job interview and receive feedback would help him in the future.

‘‘[I] definitely got a few tips and tricks on what [an employer] wants to see,’’ Noah said.

He had never had the chance to have a practice run at a job interview before.

‘‘When I do go to get a job in the future, I’ll definitely look back on this time and think about . . .their feedback.’’

He said Coyep helped him get a work placement and succeed in achieving NCEA credits.

Being in a smaller, more dedicated class was great, he said.

He had been completing work experience with Contact Energy, working in the Clyde Dam.

Compared to the repetitiveness of a school day, no two days on placement were the same.

‘‘[Instead of] getting six months into an apprenticeship and not liking it, you get to actually go and see what you want to do.’’