A large number of high school students have enrolled in the Trades Academy at EIT Tairāwhiti this year, in a bid to explore vocational careers while still at school.
EIT Trades Academy Manager Paul Hursthouse says this year’s intake at Tairāwhiti Campus had shown “tremendous growth”.
“At the start of each year we normally have about 240 high school students sign up to our programmes on the Tairāwhiti Campus. This year we had three hundred students from 16 schools across the region, which is fantastic.”
He said that about 75 percent of the students are Māori and almost 45 percent female.
The Trades Academy, at EIT’s Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay campuses, works with secondary schools to provide year-long trades programmes to help students achieve NCEA Level 2 and prepare for higher-level study. In Tairāwhiti students attend Trades Academy each Friday, gaining vocational skills and get hands on experience. The Trades Academy at the Tairāwhiti Campus offers programmes that include automotive, trade skills, hair and beauty, hospitality, agriculture, and health and fitness.
Paul says the Trades Academy allows students to kickstart their vocational pathway while at school. “When it first began, it primarily targeted Year 12 learners who were completing NCEA level 2 which is viewed by the Ministry of Education as the perquisite to vocational education and training. However, due to demand EIT’s Trades Academy has grown to include Year 11 students and even those in Year 13.”
“We had principals ask us if we could extend the Trades Academy into Year 13 because they had students wanting to continue with the Trades Academy and vocational training while continuing at high school. We never thought this would happen, but we were happy to extend several Year 13 options to cater for that demand.”
Paul says some principals had also enquired about sending Year 11 students to the Trades Academy to start experiencing vocational training.
“So, we’ve done that too.”
“Certainly, there are more young people interested in exploring the option of vocational careers while at school. We have seen nationally real growth in trades training and apprenticeships which is exciting.””
Trades Academy programmes proving popular in Tairāwhiti this year are hair and beauty, hospitality and the Integrated Trade Skills.
“The integrated programme is a taster course for those students who are not quite sure what trade they want to get into. Over the year, they will do 10 weeks of carpentry, 10 weeks of automotive, and 10 weeks of engineering,” says Paul.
“It has been very popular this year.”
Paul says that EIT values that the Trades Academy fosters a connection with high schools and meets those schools demands.
“Our ethos of the Trades Academy is it’s got to be fun, practical and engaging. We are delighted that we are able to partner with high schools to extend their senior curriculum.”
One of the kura partnering with EIT in the Trades Academy is Te Waha o Rerekohu Area School in rural Te Araroa. Principal Caron Taana says the Trades Academy is an opportunity for the students to get into a vocational pathway and into areas that they are interested in.
“They love it because not only are they getting that educational and vocational training, but they are also getting hands on experience. It is a major commitment for them because being from a rural school, they have to leave at 6am each Friday and they only get back at about 5pm.”
“For many of them it gives them a clear vocational pathway and also allows them to interact with students from other schools.”