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School students keen to up-skill

School students keen to up-skill

More school students than ever before are taking up the opportunity to gain extra credits towards NCEA and tertiary qualifications through the U-Skills Central Schools Academy at UCOL, which runs in partnership with local secondary schools.

U-Skills ‘fees free’ programmes are available in a range of career areas to assist young people to explore career options, gain connections with employers and transition into further training or employment.

U-Skills Central Schools Academy has grown from 100 Ministry of Education funded places in 2012 to 260 this year.

U-Skills Central Schools Academy Manager Jacqui Phillips says over 300 year 12 and 13 students vying for places on the programme have been interviewed for 2014 programmes. “Students’ applications need to be supported by their school. This year we will have students from 30 secondary schools across the region attending U-Skills one day per week in the programme of their choice.”

Seventeen U-Skills programmes covering topics like construction, creative arts,manufacturing and technology, service industries, and social and community servicesare taught from UCOL’s campuses in Palmerston North, Whanganui and Wairarapa, and one from a base in Levin. Transport to and from programmes is provided for the students at no cost.

Mrs Phillips says students are getting a lot out of the programmes. “Last year, Ministry of Education-funded students who completed the full year with us gained 92% of the credits available to them, a great success rate.”

The programmes provide students with between 40-60 credits at Level 2 or 3, a good chunk of the achievement needed to gain NCEA.

“The students put in some hard yards, carrying on with school work and activities while at the same time studying at a tertiary level and sometimes finishing later in the day.

“What they come away with at the end of the year is valuable experience in skill shortage areas, and more options than before. They can choose to stay at school, go on to further study at UCOL, or go straight into employment or an apprenticeship.”

All U-Skills students undertake a programme of careers and personal development in addition to their vocational study.

U-Skills programmes of study in 2014 include:

• Construction Level 2, 32 credits
• Graphics and Design Level 2, 29 credits
• Applied Engineering Level 3, 31 credits
• Automotive Level 2, 26 credits
• Electrical Level 2, 28 credits
• Mechanical Engineering Level 2, 30 credits
• Fashion, Hair and Beauty Level 2, 29 credits
• Hospitality Level 2, 25 credits
• Business Administration Level 2, 27 credits +
• Young Enterprise Scheme Level 3, 24 credits
• Health - 42 credits Level 3
• Careers Development, 16 credits, 13 Level 2, 3 Level 3 – delivered to all U-Skills students

In order to attend U-Skills Central Schools Academy, students must have an endorsement from that school and be returning for their year 12 or 13 year. They must be undertaking NCEA study, and attend an interview to gain acceptance into the Academy.

UCOL also offers Youth Guarantee scholarships for 16-19-year-olds who have left school and are keen to learn but don't feel confident about tertiary study, and STAR programmes for students to get a taste of a subject or job area that interests them, and learn new skills that can help them move into study or work.


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