A partnership between Otago Polytechnic and six Central Otago and Lakes District secondary schools has established the Central Lakes Trades Academy that welcomed its first intake of students last Friday (February 24).
The Academy is specifically designed for teenagers who want to get started on trade qualifications while they’re still at high school. Fully funded by the Ministry of Education, the academy enables students to work towards a vocational qualification as part of their NCEA level 2 studies. The students spend four days a week at their high school and one day a week as part of the Academy at Otago Polytechnic in Cromwell.
Last Friday’s induction was the first time all Academy students were together and provided students and parents the opportunity to chat to lecturers and get to know each other. Studies proper begin next Friday (March 2) when students will don overalls and begin their practical studies.
Otago Polytechnic Regional Manager Jean Tilleyshort said the Academy model is designed to make school work relevant to students following vocational career options.
“Maths, for example, suddenly becomes relevant when you need to make calculations as a builder or horticulturalist. This is about keeping our young people studying for longer, and finding pathways into their chosen careers,” she said.
Ms Tilleyshort believes the Academy model is answering a real need.
“It has clearly appealed to people. We’ve had a terrific response to our first intake with 35 of the 36 available slots filled. Parents, students and teachers believe this will provide the students with clear post-school direction and offer a head start into achieving qualifications that are valuable for the student as well as the region. It also helps them establish contacts through local people who are already working in those careers.”
The first intake of students will study one of three different trades, automotive, carpentry or primary industry, with the support of local businesses.
“A big thanks to Buchanan Transport who have provided a facility at their depot where 12 students will be introduced to the automotive trade. They’ve made space in their workshop complete with a hoist where students will strip engines and rebuild cars as part of their course.
“The carpentry students will work in a separate leased facility where they’ll start by designing and building wooden toys before getting into building structures. Primary sector students will learn at Otago Polytechnic’s Bannockburn Road venue where they’ll learn a range of skills such as sheep and beef farming, how to drive a tractor and erect a fence.”
The Central Lakes Trade Academy is open to approved year 11-13 secondary school students attending Cromwell College, Dunstan High School, Mount Aspiring College, Maniototo School, Roxburgh School or Wakatipu High School. Students study at the Central Lakes Trades Academy and their local high school towards NCEA to gain a nationally transferable tertiary qualification at Level 1 or 2.