A day a week of work experience in Term 3 is also a key feature of the hands-on programme.
“Work experience in industry is an integral part of the programme and a key attraction for ākonga,” says WITT Te Pūkenga Director Teaching Partnerships Ben Naughton.
From his work placement Luke has a gained a trades assistant role with Energy Works with the view to starting an apprenticeship with the firm in the future. He says he joined the Trades Academy programme to learn skills and get a job.
He says he had mates do the programme last year and was inspired seeing them get jobs and apprenticeships.
“WITT is different from school, you get treated more like an adult – they show you and let you do things and help you get better and learn,” says Luke.
Year 13 Opunake High School ākonga Brayden Shaw will also be in work next year securing a job with Kinatai Engineering.
“I gained valuable skills from my placement at Fonterra and got experience on my CV,” he says.
The mechanical engineering programme gives ākonga a taste of fabrication and welding and this year the programme has also included making individual fish smokers.
“We wanted to introduce fabrication skills and give ākonga more ownership of the end project by having something they could keep and use with whānau,” says WITT Te Pūkenga Mechanical Engineering, Fabrication/Welding Tutor Mark Hudson.
“What’s more they got to try out their smokers to celebrate the end of the programme and enjoy smoked fish for smoko,” adds Mark.
The popular programme also leads to the full-time New Zealand Certificate in Mechanical Engineering (Level 3) and pre-trade qualifications, which are on the cards for other members of this year’s build-a-trailer class.