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World Class Education Available Locally

10 October 2012

World Class Education Available Locally

“Skills are needed,” said Prime Minister John Key today when he visited WelTec’s house building site at Otaki.

Linda Sissons, WelTec Chief Executive welcomed the Prime Minister and Hon Nathan Guy, MP for Otaki to the building site which comprises WelTec’s Certificate in Carpentry programme. “These are our students and this house shows what they have learnt,” said Linda Sissons. “These are the people you need to be looking to for the Christchurch rebuild effort.”

“We need skilled craftspeople to carry out the job properly,” said John Key speaking to students who had just completed their Certificate in Carpentry at WelTec’s house building site at The Clean Technology Centre in Otaki. The Prime Minister said New Zealand will need many more skilled people in the construction industry to rebuild Christchurch and to fix the country’s leaky homes.

The Prime Minister went on to congratulate WelTec and Whitireia for investing in trades training in the region. “It’s great to see Whitireia and WelTec working together offering world class education locally.”

Don Campbell, Whitireia Chief Executive explained the advantages of having two Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics working together to provide trades training on the Kapiti Coast which was now more available compared with 18 months ago.

For one WelTec student, Chris Aitken it was day one on the job with Northface Construction. His boss, Chris Beggs said having a local tertiary level training programme where students learn by building a house was invaluable.

“House building is a busy industry on the Kapiti Coast. We need young people with the right skills and attitude and employers are now more willing to take them on - it helps our business and the economy to grow. Most importantly young people are given an opportunity to learn a trade and be set up for a future in the building and construction industry. When I started out I didn’t have an opportunity to learn like this. This is a great initiative which has my support. The opportunities with the Christchurch rebuild mean that young people like Chris should seriously think about this industry for a future career.”

Background
WelTec is a large Institute of Technology and Polytechnic providing trades training in the Wellington region, supported by funding from the Tertiary Education Commission and via contracts with a range of Industry Training Organisations (Building and Construction ITO, Plumbing, Gasfitting and Drainlaying ITO, Electrotechnology ITO, Motor ITO, Painting ITO (Decorate NZ) and Engineering ITO). We are a low risk (as assessed by TEC) ITP that year on year delivers more than 100% of its forecast student numbers.

WelTec has a strategic partnership with Whitireia Community Polytechnic, facilitated through a combined Council (led by Hon Roger Sowry) and joint Academic Board. This has facilitated collaborative programme delivery rather than wasteful duplication across the region; part of which involves either of the two institutions playing to its strengths in order to deliver needed training where need is greatest.

In the construction industry on the Kapiti Coast, Whitireia has pioneered collaboration with secondary schools, offering programmes on school sites open to current and former school students. Whitireia Polytechnic is partnering with Te Wananga o Raukawa with a course on the Wananga's Otaki campus and is also providing another in the Kapiti College grounds. Next year Whitireia will partner with Paraparaumu College. WelTec for its part has capitalised on its membership of the Clean Technology Centre in Otaki to start developing environmentally sustainable house building training programmes. The first step has been the establishment of a house-building site near to the Clean Technology Centre and using basic building technologies.

WelTec is also a major contributor to the Government’s Skills for Canterbury initiative with 816 equivalent full-time students studying a range of trades. Overall we have 1900 Equivalent Fulltime students studying trades currently at campuses located at Petone, Wairarapa and Otaki. We and Whitireia are also involved in Pasifika trades with around 80 Pasifika scholarship students undertaking priority trades training supported by their Churches and community.

Both institutes have a strong focus on youth with a significant involvement in Youth Guarantee (4 of the Otaki students are Youth Guarantee). WelTec runs the Wellington Trades Academy for secondary school students. This includes a range of trades programmes for students.

The Otaki Initiative
The Otaki initiative came about in response to the Government’s call for more qualified trades people to assist with the rebuild of Canterbury and for the construction industry NZ wide.

The offering at Otaki is the Certificate in Carpentry Level 3 (a full-time pre-employment pre-trade programme) whereby graduates go on to complete a National Certificate in Carpentry Level 4 through industry-based apprenticeships or cadetships. Students attending class at Otaki come from Levin through to Paraparaumu.

9 students will complete the programme this year under the tutorage of Richard Carter from WelTec’s School of Construction. Some students have job offers from local builders which will include apprenticeships. These employers are mainly small residential companies. There are still challenges for graduates finding work as demand from the rebuild of Christchurch is yet to fully materialise.

Both WelTec and Whitireia have a close working relationship with a number of employers and the Building and Construction ITO. The Otaki students, like their counterparts in Petone and Masterton, have been building this house during their programme succeeding well with this contextualised learning.

Like the other houses built by WelTec students, the house built in Otaki is three bedrooms and 113m^2. The houses are sold on the open market and this house has been bought by a purchaser in the Wairarapa for $76k (covers the cost of materials).

As part of the longer term intention to develop environmentally sustainable construction, WelTec has entered into an agreement with the Little Greenie Trust, an organisation which builds “Green” houses, to develop a curriculum supporting this important emerging priority. Information on this is provided in the packs for the PM and Hon Nathan Guy to take away.

ENDS

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