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Engineering Scholarships Address Skills Shortages

Wintec Trades and Engineering Scholarships Address Skills Shortages

Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec) is to award eighty $1,000 scholarships and twenty $4,000 scholarships in trades areas identified as having critical skills shortages in the region and throughout New Zealand.

The Wintec Trades and Engineering Scholarships will provide first year annual tuition fees for students to pursue skills training/ education in the areas of engineering, carpentry and joinery, automotive engineering, panel beating, refinishing, body repair, plumbing, gasfitting, roofing, electrical, architecture, welding and machining.

Wintec Chief Executive Officer, Mark Flowers, said the scholarships recognised an urgent industry need for skilled workers across the trades and the importance of industry and the region’s leading provider of trades training working together.

"It is ironic that many people are unemployed at the same time as employers can't fill vacancies, but we know that many people looking for work don't have the skills or experience to fill the vacancies available. We are working with our industry partners to address that mis-match.”

Mr. Flowers said Department of Labour reports showed that skill shortages have become so acute in New Zealand that they are beginning to undermine the Government’s goal of 4% annual economic growth, which is seen as being crucial to the Government's returning New Zealand to the top half of the OECD income levels. One New Zealand business in eight now lists staff shortages as the main constraint on growth, with 43% of manufacturers nationwide for instance reporting acute staff shortages.

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He said in recent years trades areas had not been perceived or promoted as desirable career paths with the resulting shortages of skilled workers now having reached critical proportions for the region and the country.

Salary surveys indicate that mechanical engineers earn between $35,000 and $65,000 per year, electrical engineers between $35K and $85K depending on experience, plumbers and gasfitters, typically between $35k and 45K and electricians from 20 - 50 K.

Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education) Hon. Steve Maharey has commended Wintec for the initiative.

“The Government is committed to building New Zealand as a knowledge society. We have outlined the strategic direction and priorities for tertiary education in the Tertiary Education Strategy which recognized the importance of identifying and meeting New Zealand’s skill needs, and of providers working with industry in the local region to achieve that goal.

“I commend Waikato Institute of Technology on its responsiveness to the education and training needs of the Waikato region through the creation of this significant number of annual scholarships. This initiative is also no doubt welcomed by relevant employers in the community,” he said.

The scholarships are open to graduating high school students, current college students, adult and non-traditional students seeking skilled and/or technical training.

Hamilton Mayor Mr. David Braithwaite said today that a skilled workforce was critical for the survival of local industry and for the growth and development of the city.

"I congratulate Wintec for committing to working with schools and with industry towards meeting these needs and I would encourage those who perhaps have not considered a career in the construction, electrical, engineering and automotive industries to consider the exciting and often lucrative career opportunities which exist across these sectors."

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