Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Over 1000 Applications In Big Year For U-Skills

Applications for UCOL’s U-Skills Trades Academy hit 1,000 for the first time this year, with new community partnerships providing secondary school students with greater access to vocational education.

U-Skills Academy programmes enable year 11 to 13 students to attend UCOL (or a UCOL-approved site) one day a week to develop industry-relevant skills, while also earning NCEA credits. Launched in 2012, U-Skills has grown into one of the top trade academies in the country, with great support from schools across the regions including Whanganui, Manawatū, Tararua, Horowhenua through to the Wairarapa.

The programmes range from trades to hospitality to business, and introduce students to subjects they can study fulltime at UCOL.

2020 was the first year in which UCOL received over 1,000 U-Skills applications, with 752 of those students accepted. Some applicants were placed onto waitlists because the programmes they applied for were so popular, while others decided to learn at school full-time or enter the workforce.

The New Zealand Police Pathway programme was a popular new offering for 2020, after local police and Palmerston North Boys’ High School approached UCOL about incorporating it into U-Skills.

“The Police Pathway programme had been on our radar, as it’s offered by other trades academies around New Zealand. The local police would normally facilitate it in multiple schools, so by making it part of U-Skills it has become accessible for more students,” says UCOL Schools Partnerships Manager Hayden Robinson.

Students in the programme were taught about interviewing, mental health/crisis support, arrest techniques, the different departments within the police force, and the police recruitment process.

The programme has proven so popular that 50 students have already applied for 2021.

UCOL also formed a new partnership with Manfeild Park Trust to teach the Infrastructure Works programme on-site at Manfeild in Feilding. There, students were able to get hands-on with the tools and machinery used for infrastructure works in the park’s road work simulation area.

UCOL was already teaching the Infrastructure Works in partnership with Downer in Oringi (south of Dannevirke), so the new arrangement with Manfeild meant that two classes could be taught.

The U-Skill Academy has grown considerably since it first launched with 81 students in 2012. Robinson credits that growth to secondary students wanting to see what opportunities are out there and the schools catering to that.

“Students are looking for that out-of-school learning experience and the chance to learn more about vocational pathways. Plus there is the added benefit of them earning NCEA credits.”

The U-Skills Trades Academy will continue to expand in 2021 with the addition of new programmes in Game Development and Plumbing, Gas-Fitting, and Drain-Laying. Students will also be able to complete full Level 3 certificate programmes in Animal Care, Commercial Road Transport, and Conservation.

The Ministry of Education, recognising the success of U-Skills, has increased its number of funded places from 630 to 690 for 2021.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Benjamin Ree's The Painter and The Thief

The Norwegian filmmaker had long been fascinated by art thieves who commit high-stakes crimes with a delicate touch when a chance Google search in 2015 uncovered a botched heist in Oslo. More>>

Howard Davis: Anna Coddington Beams

Anna Coddington's thin, wispy vocals fit her songs beautifully, providing a wonderful lilting quality that pervades her latest album, producing instant ear worms. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

Howard Davis: Byrneing Down the House - Spike Lee's American Utopia

Lee does an admirable job capturing Byrne's stunning live performance of his latest album, but the real star of the show is the staging. More>>

Howard Davis: The Phoenix Foundation Friend Ship Tour Docks in Wellington

A sense of local pride was certainly running high at the Opera House on Saturday night, as the lads ran through a tasty little set drawn mostly from their latest album Friend Ship (splash out for Xmas on the shocking pink extra-thick vinyl edition). More>>

Howard Davis: Avantdale Bowling Club

Auckland rapper and MC Tom Scott brought his stunning jazz-infused Taite Music Prize-winning project Avantdale Bowling Club to the Opera House headlining Wellington's 2020 Jazz Festival. More>>

Howard Davis: Troy Kingi Rules The San Fran

The award-winning Northland musician performed songs from his new record The Ghost of Freddie Cesar, the fourth installment in his 10/10/10 series - ten albums in ten years in ten genres. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland