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TradeFIT recognised for collaborative approach

Media Release – 26 August, 2008

TradeFIT recognised for collaborative approach in 2008 ITP awards

Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) Project Manager Phil Agnew has won the 2008 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics of New Zealand Cooperation for Results award for the development of TradeFIT, CPIT’s experiential learning and Innovation Centre.

TradeFIT is a response to a significant shortage of qualified, skilled trades-people to build, maintain and upgrade New Zealand’s infrastructure.

CPIT Chief Executive Dr Neil Barns says the programme addresses the areas of training that have not traditionally been included in the scope of provision by Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics.

“To be recognised for the development of an innovative programme that meets the needs of the roading, electrical and construction industries and provides much needed training to meet skills shortages in these areas is particularly satisfying

“I’d like to personally congratulate TradeFIT Project Manager Phil Agnew who has been the driving force behind the success of the project,” he says.

ITP New Zealand Executive Director Dave Guerin says Industry contribution was crucial to the success of the project and Phil Agnew's entrepreneurship was instrumental in making these relationships effective.

"Support garnered from industry came from services and advice as often as it did from goods, equipment or money. Phil ensured that the project was built around ongoing and mutually beneficial relationships where both sides of the partnership gain."

Phil Agnew says the project has been a challenging but very rewarding journey to date.  “Its outcomes are credible for all stakeholders. Something like this makes the sleepless nights and grey hair worthwhile”

He says such recognition will help to further enhance TradeFIT’s growing reputation as a key provider in the infrastrucural training and assessment requirements of the South Island.

Based at the Trades Innovation Institute of CPIT, TradeFIT represents a new approach to industry training that involves an innovative public/private partnership with local industries and provides real-life training activities and project based learning.  TradeFIT is a co-operative venture between CPIT, Tai Poutini Polytechnic and industry.  It has a total to-date of 135 partners who can organise their own provision or are assisted to develop provision in conjunction with CPIT’s Trades Innovation Institute.

“While TradeFIT is focused largely on meeting the needs of industry it also has a strong focus on directly meeting the learning needs of the predominantly kinaesthetic learners who are attracted to trades as well as enhancing training for all students,” says Phil Agnew.  

Students enrolled in TradeFIT programmes experience domestic and commercial construction, infrastructural transportation, distribution and warehousing, plumbing, drainlaying, gasfitting and brick and block trades within a commercial context.

A key feature of the domestic construction programme involves students building houses in a simulated sub-division. “This activity enhances the pre-trade student’s ability to understand the synergies between the trades when working under pressure of time in a ‘real-life’ scenario.  We believe that this is one of the aspects of TradeFIT that demonstrates a tangible benefit to employers, students and industry.”


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