Tue 10 Sep 2019

Introducing Kevin Uncles

Kevin Uncles

Acting Director, School – Trade Training, Primary and Creative Industries

Te Kura Mahi ā-rehe, Umanga Ahu Matua & Umanga Auaha

Kevin Uncles joins WITT this week with many years’ experience in trades under his belt. With a strong background in the tertiary education sector, Kevin’s career has taken him from tradesperson, to tutor, to Head of School and Director.

“I am a qualified tradesman in both Automotive and in Fabrication and Welding, and I am very proud to hold both of these trade qualifications,” he says. “I decided that after more than 15 years in the trade, it was time to give something back to it.”

“I started my teaching career at what’s now UCOL in Palmerston North. I was a tutor in both their automotive and engineering departments and worked up to become their Head of School in the Trades department,” he says. “My next move was to Waiariki Institute of Technology in Rotorua where I was appointed as the Director of the School of Trade Training.”

Kevin says there is a lot to look forward to as he takes on the challenges of his new role at WITT.

“I am looking forward to establishing the new school at WITT and working closely with a new team of staff. I look forward to making contact with local employers that have employed or given work experience to our students and graduates. There are exciting times ahead.”

“Taranaki is my parents’ and grandparents’ home town. Palmerston North is my birthplace but has no mountain, so in coming to work at WITT is like returning back to my roots, and my parents' mountain.”

Kevin holds a Masters Degree, which he completed while he was at Waiariki.

“My thesis explored why students leave and do not complete their studies in practical Trades programmes. Doing the research taught me lots about what some of our students suffer, and how we as tertiary staff can encourage them to stay and complete their studies.”

Kevin says he has children and grandchildren across the country, and when he’s not working you can often find him spending time on his hobbies.

“I make large radio-controlled flying replicas of the Royal New Zealand Airforce's World War 2 military aircraft; each aircraft takes me about 3 years to complete,” he says. “And to prove that I still have my trade skills I - with lots of help for my wife Robin - have just restored a Classic 1966 Ford Mustang.”