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Students Fabricate A Future In Engineering


Students Fabricate A Future In Engineering

Year 12 and 13 mechanical engineering students were given a peek behind the scenes when two Christchurch engineering companies opened their doors for a recent Competenz careers open day. The objective? To show students how a vocational pathway, which they start at school, enables them to link up with a trades apprenticeship.

Twenty-two students from Linwood College and Hillmorton High School spent a day visiting Hamilton Jet and Lyttelton Engineering, accompanied by their engineering teachers and Competenz staff.

“The careers open day was a rare chance for mechanical engineering students to watch tradespeople at work,” explains Competenz Trades Training General Manager, Fiona Kingsford. “Students were able to see first-hand what they might be doing in a trades career, and how the subjects they choose at school can prepare them for an apprenticeship.”

Linwood College Gateway Co-ordinator Jean Brown thought the day presented an important opportunity. "We can 'talk' to students about different careers but actually visiting workplaces, seeing them in action, getting the feel of the place is and listening to 'real' workers is far more engaging for them."

Students also valued the experience. “I’m keen on anything mechanical or engineering,” said Hillmorton student Cam Malins. “The day showed me a range of trades that I’d like to look at.”

Hillmorton Engineering Teacher Patrick Neal was pleased his students got the opportunity to attend. “It’s great businesses and Competenz are willing to stump up and show us around. All my guys enjoy engineering. Some want to be mechanics simply because they don’t see the breadth of careers available in mechanical engineering. But today they have. Now they know they have more options.”

Lyttelton Engineering Works Manager Mark Holland told the students that the company “takes pride in taking on a lot of apprentices. We currently have 14, and take on three or four a year. But it’s important you take maths, English and engineering at school, and know that as an apprentice you have to work hard and you have to be at work on time.”

Lyttelton Engineering apprentice Andrew McLeod gave a first-hand account of what it was like to be an apprentice. “I like it here at Lyttelton Engineering because there’s a wide range of industrial, marine and boiler making work, and it’s taken me all over the South Island. I worked hard to get the theory out of the way as fast as I could, and I found my Competenz account manager really helpful if there was a problem. My advice is to prepare for a trade while you’re still at school by choosing the right pathway.”

All year 12 students attending the careers day are enrolled in Year 13 mechanical engineering for next year.



Competenz is the Industry Training Organisation (ITO) for the Engineering, Manufacturing, Baking, and Food and Beverage Manufacturing industries. Through its network of offices, Competenz looks after the needs of nearly 2,000 businesses, helping 12,000 people develop their skills on the job each year.

Hamilton Jet pioneered the development of the modern water-jet more than 50 years ago, and the company continues its innovative traditions today. Hamilton Jet employs over 300 people in all aspects of water-jet design, production and service. Along with the marine jet units, the company also produces its own electronic and hydraulic control systems.

Lyttelton Engineering has been an integral part of the Port of Lyttelton since 1953. It is now one of Canterbury's largest engineering companies with expertise in ship repair, boiler manufacture and repair, steel fabrication and machining, and site installation and maintenance work.

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Mechanical engineering students from Linwood College and Hillmorton High School at the Competenz careers open day visit Hamilton Jet.


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