Trades Academy brings vocational training to high school

Press Release – Otago Polytech

A Trades Academy designed for teenagers who want to get started on trade qualifications while they’re still at high school, is now on offer at Otago Polytech Central Otago campus for 2012.Trades Academy brings vocational training to high school students

A Trades Academy designed for teenagers who want to get started on trade qualifications while they’re still at high school, is now on offer at Otago Polytech Central Otago campus for 2012.

The Academy is a partnership between Otago Polytechnic and the four Central Otago secondary schools – Wakatipu High School, Mt Aspiring College, Cromwell College and Dunstan High School.

Otago Polytechnic Regional Manager Jean Tilleyshort says the schools and the polytech are working together as part of a genuine commitment to providing the best possible education for all students.

“We’ve worked to get the Academy in place for the next school year because we want parents and students to know that this is an option available now. Our goal is to keep these teens in school and to make school more relevant to them by providing some hands on instruction in areas of interest. Otherwise, they might leave without qualifications and without reaching their potential.

“The Academy initiative has had fantastic support from the local community, Cromwell builder Steve Bell and Buchanan Transport are providing workspace in their businesses and others will come on board as we grow. Students will develop skills and also links into the community that will help them as they pursue careers.”

Students joining the Academy will study at school for four days each week, and Polytech one day towards NCEA and a vocational (trade) qualification. There are 36 places available for 2012 in construction, automotive and primary industry. The programme is funded by government (including transport) at no charge to the students.

Ms Tilleyshort says the programme is mostly for those from year 12, NCEA level 2.

“These students will be able to finish their school years with good qualifications that will set them up for careers in the fields they enjoy. The day a week in a workshop or similar will offer relevance to some of the work they’re doing at high school.”

Paula Buchanan of Buchanan Transport says she and her husband were thrilled to be able to support the academy by providing workshop space complete with a hoist for the students.

“We have teenage boys and think this is a wonderful idea. When the polytech came looking for space we were very pleased to be able to help support a positive community initiative which will provide good qualifications as well as qualified people that the region needs,” she said.

Otago Polytechnic will look to develop additional options for 2013 working towards programmes that will deliver a wider range of qualifications. Students interested in the Trades Academy should contact their school or Raewyn Paviour at Otago Polytechnic Central Otago.

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