Senior students from the New Zealand Lasallian school, Francis Douglas Memorial College New Plymouth have found a new mentor in college alumni and the nation's Education and Skills Minister Steven Joyce.
Mr Joyce was guest speaker at the recent launch of the Accelerator program, an innovative scheme, linking senior students from six schools in New Plymouth to business mentors in the region.
The nine week program is a free service which was developed by local Nationals MP Jonathan Young with the support of the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce.
Seven senior students from Francis Douglas Memorial College are each matched with a local business mentor, prominent in his/her field.
College Principal Martin Chamberlain said the mentors spend an hour with the students after school each week to explain how their business works.
Students then gather for an evening meal together where a guest speaker from the local business community shares personal insights on topics such as leadership, communication and collaboration.
It is hoped the program will help expand potential career paths for students, looking towards business careers when they leave school.
At the recent launch of the program, Minister Joyce told the students how local mentors had helped him launch a multi million dollar media company before he pursued a political career.
For Mr Joyce, his pathway to business success began through a radio station in New Plymouth, Energy FM, which later grew into a national network, Radio Works.