Taken at Stockton of current Drillers Assistant students Taken at Stockton of current Drillers Assistant students CREDIT: Tai Poutini Polytechnic

Driller's Assistant Programme goes from Strength to Strength

Tuesday 26 October 2010, 6:02PM
By Tai Poutini Polytechnic


There appears to be no sign of job shortages when it comes to working in the drilling industry.   The students who graduated from Tai Poutini Polytechnics new drilling programme based in Greymouth were all offered jobs at the end of their study.

Tai Poutini Polytechnic seeks to encourage more students to take up the 20 week pre-employment programme which was launched at the beginning of 2010.

Programme Leader Michele Cox says mature students from throughout New Zealand with varied career backgrounds are attending the drilling programme. The present intake of students have travelled from the West Coast, Canterbury, Manawatu, Taranaki and the Bay of Plenty to be part of the programme.

“Students come from a range of industries with a variety of work experiences to embark on a new career.   They can see the employment benefits of completing the programme and the first graduates have reaped the results by gaining employment during, or once they finished their work-based training.”

The Certificate in Drilling - Non-hydrocarbon, (Driller’s Assistant) comprises 14 weeks training based in Greymouth, followed by six weeks work-based training on a drilling rig in New Zealand.   The course provides students with the necessary skills for the industry including basic rig maintenance, introduction to welding and gas cutting, heavy truck licences, Wheels, Tracks and Rollers, 4WD, Forklift, First Aid and emergency care, lifting and moving loads and environment, health and safety training.

Cox says the drilling industry initially approached Tai Poutini Polytechnic to provide a programme for the industry with the skills they identified as being advantageous to someone wanting to enter the industry

“Tai Poutini Polytechnic has for a number of years worked closely with people in the extractive and civil construction industries.   Currently six Digger Schools operate throughout New Zealand training students in civil plant operations and a surface extraction introductory skills programme.”

Cox says the hands on practical programme has created interest internationally.   Tai Poutini Polytechnic presented a paper about their Driller’s Assistant programme at the Australasian Drilling Conference Drill 2010 in Adelaide at the end of September.

Cox says there is greater industry demand for graduates than the number of students currently completing the programme. 

Industry demand is being led by soaring international mineral prices and high market demand for these resources. “We expect this to continue into the future as the international markets continue to rely on finding new supplies of resources to meet demand.”

The current intake of students will leave Greymouth to begin their work-based training on 8 November.   The next intake of students begins on the 20 week programme on the 31 January 2011.