The success of the High School Trades Academy Programme @ EIT is being felt in the far reaches of Tairāwhiti.
Each Friday, 135 students from every high school in the region head to the EIT Tairāwhiti campus to try their hands at subjects covering everything from agriculture through to automotive, building and construction, hair and beauty, sport and recreation, hospitality and trade skills. Their commitment and achievements were honoured at the annual prizegiving, which was attended by more than 200 students, teachers, whanau and other supporters.
Guest motivational speaker David Todd told them that it was brilliant to see an educational programme matching the skill set of the students involved.
His key messages were simple – belief and follow through in success and confidence “Achieving what they have at the academy is proof of success – they now need to build on that” said David.
“It was a fantastic celebration of success,” he said. “The academy is filling a real gap and opening doors of possibility for these kids – and that, is very exciting for all of us.”
In just its second year, the programme has grown to accommodate more students, and will grow again next year, with new subjects fashion and computer technician skills added.
EIT trades academy manager Paul Hursthouse says for 2014, thanks to increasing demand, there will be 380 places across the Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay campuses.
“This allows secondary schools to extend their curriculum, with students tasting a vocation at the same time as gaining credits towards their NCEA,” says Paul.
The new courses have been added as a result of requests from schools.
“There are benefits all round,” he says.
“We have put a lot of resources into ensuring our students get those credits towards the Ministry of Education’s Vocational Pathways initiative – it is part of a much bigger picture.
“Statistics tell us that about a third of students go to university and yet anecdotally a large proportion of schools’ resources go towards them. The ministry’s new initiative tries to highlight for the students that there are legitimate pathways other than university available
From 2014, students – who come from schools from as far afield as Hicks Bay to Wairoa will receive NCEA credits with an endorsement of a pathway to follow.
“This lets students find their niche and hopefully, they will go on and explore that even further.”