Thu 12 Feb 2015

Trades Academy continues to grow

The Taranaki Trades Academy may only be in its fourth year, but it has already proved to be a huge success.

 Academy administrator Julie Malcolm, who has been involved on the administrative side of things for some time, is running things until a permanent replacement for the previous co-ordinator Caroline Shaw  is found. Often referred to by Academy students (and herself)  as “Camp Mother,”’ Caroline  moved to Rarotonga to head their Hospitality School.

The Academy has continues to grow, however, and Julie says the growth is impressive. In 2012, when it started, there were just 30 students, she says.  The following year that went up to 90, before shooting up yet again to 150 in 2014.

This year, 190 students have enrolled over the 13 programmes, the ultimate proof of the success of the Academy.

“As we’ve grown every year, the number of programmes on offer has grown with that,’’ she says.

At this stage it is worth reminding those who may not know just what the Trades Academy is. In its simplest form, it caters for Year 11 to 13 secondary school students to help them achieve a vocational qualification while still at school. Students can start the transition from learning at secondary school level to learning in a tertiary learning environment. Even better, they also gain credits towards NCEA Level 2 and a tertiary qualification.

The Academy is an excellent example of WITT combining with the community to get the best possible outcome for our youth. It’s a partnership between Taranaki secondary schools, WITT and industry and is much more than just a training programme.

The Academy is often the start of a relevant and exciting journey that allows every young person the opportunity to start their chosen career path while still at school.

 “It’s really for students who are not necessarily going to university; it gives them a heads-up on what trades are out there. It’s also a very good stepping stone for those students who want to go onto apprenticeships or into fulltime study at WITT,’’ says Julie.

Most secondary schools in Taranaki are involved in the Academy, which is fully funded by the Government.

While at the Taranaki Trades Academy you’ll learn in a practical and hands-on environment using industry standard equipment and technology relevant to your chosen career path. You will also develop the foundation skills you need to progress on to further study opportunities or move directly into employment.

Academy students spend one day a week on site for the first three terms, except for those working on the highly successful Build A Bach initiative, run in conjunction with Taranaki Futures.

That will be increased to allow two baches to be built, one in New Plymouth and another in Stratford.

The baches are built by secondary school students in the academy who start on the second to last week of term one and are full-time through terms two and three and the first four weeks of term four.

The Taranaki Trades Academy offers study in the following academies:

Agriculture (available through Taratahi), Art & Design, Automotive, Beauty, Business Administration, Carpentry (available through G & H Training), Cookery, Electrical,  Engineering, Hairdressing, Fitness, Make-up Artistry, Restaurant Service and Welding.

“We do have a few places still available,’’ says Julie, “but anyone interested needs to be quick.’’