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Big Machine Workshop gets thumbs up

Students and community leaders gave Aoraki Polytechnic’s new Big Machine Workshop the thumbs up during its official opening today.

The new workshop, in Bank Street, is now home to students studying Automotive Heavy Engineering. It gives students on this course their own large workshop and classroom space.

Council chairperson Janie Annear said the new premises reflected the increased demand for training in primary industries and trades programmes. It was also a result of the polytechnic’s investment in agriculture, which was an “extraordinary component’’ of our region’s success, she said.

Aoraki MP and Associate Minister of Primary Industries Jo Goodhew congratulated the polytechnic’s management for responding to the needs of local businesses.

“Today we are celebrating growth.

“This region is humming – and it feels great to be part of a region that is humming.’’

She joined Timaru Mayor Damon Odey in congratulating the polytechnic on its achievement.

Mr Odey, who many years ago was a graduate of Engineering and Business at Aoraki Polytechnic, reiterated the importance of the automotive industry to our region.

“Our district is cranking and this (opening of the workshop) is just another block to help us grow.’’

The South Canterbury region was the third best performing in the country last year.

“The growth and the jobs are here. Automotive engineering is a huge part of this. We welcome what the polytechnic is doing.’’

Mrs Annear, together with Mrs Goodhew and Mr Odey, officially cut the ribbon to open the workshop during a ceremony with students and industry representatives.

Chief Executive Alex Cabrera said Aoraki is committed to investing in areas of priority for the region, and where students will find jobs.

The pre-trade Automotive Engineering course teaches the base knowledge students need to lead them into an apprenticeship. Students use industry-standard equipment in the specialist workshop and complete work placement to ensure they have plenty of experience when applying for apprenticeships or employment. The course feeds the apprenticeships and staffing needs of the businesses serving the agriculture industry.

Student Brock Lory described the new workshop as “awesome”.

He said the best part of the course was learning about the different machinery. Students spent three days at the polytechnic and two days on work place training. Brock especially enjoyed the work placement – putting into action knowledge he had learned on the course.

He hoped by the end of the course he would have secured an apprenticeship as a diesel mechanic.

And with almost 100 per cent of students who graduated getting jobs he was on his way to achieving that goal.


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