Minister of Education Anne Tolley has given the green light for the opening of the Hawke’s Bay Schools Trades Academy @ EIT next year.
One of ten that will open around New Zealand in 2012, the trades academy will provide practical skills training for secondary school students while allowing them to study for NCEA credits and tertiary qualifications.
As lead provider for the trades academy covering the Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti regions, EIT will partner up with secondary schools and industries to provide fees-free places for training in hospitality, sport and recreation, automotive and electrical engineering, trade skills, agriculture, land skills, animal care and hair and beauty services while the students remain enrolled in secondary school.
The basic model will provide 16 and 17-year-olds with the opportunity to attend EIT one day a week. However, EIT deputy chief executive Claire Hague says the partnerships will be tailored to meet the needs of participating schools and students.
Principals who attended a recent meeting with EIT were very positive and excited about the scheme, she said, and now wanted to enrol students into programmes.
“They are already indicating the initiative will be oversubscribed. If that’s the case, we may have to look at establishing a mechanism for selecting students.”
Places have been capped at 100 students for Hawke’s Bay and 50 for the Tairāwhiti region.
However, EIT had indicated it may go back to the Ministry of Education if demand outstrips the numbers approved.
New Zealand’s first trades academies opened this year as part of a Government initiative aimed at re-engaging students who may have lost interest in education but were interested in learning practical skills.
Ms Hague said trades academies gave the 71 percent of secondary school students who did not go on to university an opportunity to seriously consider alternative pathways.
“It’s important to intervene early before they disengage from education, and to direct them into hands-on learning while rebuilding feelings of success as learners and providing them with better pathways for the future.”
Mrs Tolley said local economies like Hawke’s Bay would benefit from the trade academies as businesses would have more young people with better skills ready to enter the workplace.
EIT is preparing to renovate a dedicated area for the trades academy. Students will also be able to utilise other facilities on campus, such as the hospitality school’s kitchen and the recently-opened state-of-the-art Trades Centre.
Trades academy students will be expected to gain at least 24 credits towards NCEA Level 2, said Ms Hague, and for some there would also be the opportunity to gain industry-based qualifications.
Planning for the Hawke’s Bay Schools Trades Academy @ EIT got underway in 2009, and programmes have been piloted with EIT partnering with Tamatea High School, Hastings Girls’ High School and Wairoa College.
All three schools have different programmes tailored to suit their students’ needs. That template would continue, so that for Tairāwhiti’s outlying schools, for example, students could be offered block study courses of two or three weeks.
“We have used lessons learned from our pilots to scale up for the official initiative,” Ms Hague said. “Results for the students involved have been outstanding, and we are really excited about the potential for building on that.”