Growth plans for trades academy

THE Southern Institute of Techno› logy (SIT) plans to grow a new trades academy which will offer entry›level trades training to secondary school pupils.
Government funding was announced last month for the Murihiku Trades Academy, with 40 places funded in the first year for pupils from Invercargill schools.
‘‘This year will be like a pilot. We have to stick to what our capabili› ties are,’’ SIT trades and technology head of faculty Doug Rodgers said.
Young people would spend one or two days a week learning a trade, with the credits they gained count› ing towards their NCEA Level 2 qualification, he said. They would still be enrolled in their respective secondary schools.
Initially, places would be avail› able in carpentry, a mixed auto› motive/engineering course, hair› dressing, beauty therapy and retail, he said.
‘‘We don’t want to spread our› selves too thinly. As we are more successful, as the years roll on, we should be able to expand into other trades as well.’’
Principals spoken to were ‘‘defin› itely on board’’ and would begin referring suitable young people once the school year began, he said. Academy classes would begin in March.
Successfully completing an acad› emy course would give participants a ‘‘very strong case’’ for selection to full›time trades study at SIT if that was their desire, Mr Rodgers said.
‘‘NCEA Level 2 is the entry requirement for tertiary study. If they perform well at the academy I would suggest they would get a position quite easily because they will be in our system and the tutors will know them.’’
This year, almost 6200 pupils throughout the country will attend trades academies.
The model was one which worked, particularly for teenagers who were in danger of losing interest in secondary school, Mr Rodgers said.
‘‘It’s not just about meeting industry and educational needs, but we are meeting a community need here too.’’