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Regions’ First Trades Academy Opens With 100 Students

Nelson Tasman Trades Academy

The Nelson Tasman regions’ first trades training academy for secondary students is opening on Friday with a powhiri at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology to welcome its first 100 students.

The Nelson Tasman Trades Academy (NTTA) is a joint venture between Nayland College, Waimea College, Nelson College for Girls, Garin College, Motueka High School, The Correspondence School and NMIT. It was set up to offer additional education opportunities for year 12 and 13 students and create new pathways to tertiary education.

Among the NTTA’s first enrolments is year 12 Nayland College student Demi Jepson who has chosen to study Hairdressing and Beauty.

“I’m really excited about it. It’s going to be a new experience for me and I’m looking forward to the new challenges. Hair and beauty is where I want to work later in life so I’m really keen to start my training.”

NTTA manager Shaaron Adams says the Ministry of Education approved funding for the NTTA in late 2011, allocating 110 student places for 2012. She says 100 students had already enrolled with the Academy, which hoped to grow to 250 students by 2013.

“There has been an enormous amount of generosity and goodwill shown by all those involved in getting this initiative up and running in a very short timeframe,” Ms Adams says.
“It is a real endorsement of the NTTA concept and recognition of the opportunities it provides to students, schools, parents and the Nelson Tasman community that people have been willing to put in the hard yards and time to make it happen.”

Ms Adams says the Academy has no fees and is open to year 12 and 13 students who have level one NCEA and are focused, committed to learning and keen to work towards a career in the trades. Students work towards a National Certificate in Trade and a minimum of NCEA level 2. Training is based one day a week at NMIT and classes are taught by NMIT tutors.

Nayland College is the NTTA’s funding coordinator and lead provider. Nayland College Principal Rex Smith says the Academy will give students more reason to stay at school, and a greater chance of career success. It also provides another pathway for the region’s secondary students and will help ease their transition into tertiary education.

“We’re hoping one of the spin-offs from this academy will be keeping students engaged in school for longer and see them leaving with higher qualifications. They can work towards a career in trades’ while staying at school and keeping up their friendships, studies and extracurricular activities.”

NMIT Chief Executive Tony Gray says the partnership between the schools and NMIT creates real opportunities for learners to experience and have the choice of undertaking studies not only at school, but in the adult environment of NMIT.

“The Trades Academy also raises the credibility and value of vocational skills-based subjects as being very real alternatives to the traditional subjects offered in the final years of schooling.”

Education Minister Hekia Parata says trades academies are a key part of the Government's Youth Guarantee policy which focuses on improving educational opportunities and achievement for 16 and 17 year-olds.

"Trade academies provide new opportunities and choices for learners about how and where they study," Ms Parata says.

"There are now 13 Trades Academies around New Zealand with three more awaiting approval by the Ministry. I congratulate and commend all those involved in setting up the Nelson Tasman Trades Academy and wish the students all the very best."

NTTA courses to start this Friday, 2 March are: Automotive Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Hospitality and Tourism, Hairdressing and Beauty and Primary Industries. A Building and Construction course is planned to start mid-year 2012. Additional trades and vocational courses could be added in future depending on the needs of both students and industry.

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ENDS

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