After five years operation, the number of students participating in the EIT Tāirawhiti Schools Trades Academy has more than doubled, giving students from Hick’s Bay to Wairoa an opportunity to find their niche. With achievements in the trades programmes counting towards students’ NCEA results, it gives schools throughout the region additional curriculum opportunities so students can learn things that may not otherwise be available to them such as automotive, engineering, carpentry and hairdressing, says EIT Business Relationship and Trades Academy manager Paul Hursthouse.
“Every secondary school in the district participates — from Hicks Bay right down to Wairoa – and the opportunities allow students to experience a trade while at school which can also help them identify a career pathway.”
There has been a steady increase in female students who now make up around 56 percent of students, while 75 percent are Maori. Some students travel up to three hours to get to their classes, then travel three hours to get home, which is a testament to their commitment, says Mr Hursthouse.
“There are some really good things happening out there. We are currently over-subscribed, but we are determined to help Tairawhiti schools support their students to meet their aspirations. It’s a genuine partnership — when we started we had 245 students engaged now we have 545 across the two regions, of which about 200 are from the Tāirawhiti region. We’re really appreciative of the support of the Ministry of Education also, who are funding a further 20 places in 2017. Every additional student we can keep engaged in education has a benefit for the region.”