From the scrapheap to the race track: Accelerating Student’s Learning

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Whether it is upcycling old hammock frames, scooters and retired bikes or learning to use specialist equipment, the EVolocity build day on the 6 August was filled with creativity, innovation, and a whole lot of fun. For the second year in a row, WITT is a tertiary partner of the EVolocity programme and recently hosted a build camp providing facilities and mentors for local secondary school students and teams in EVolocity for 2022.

EVolocity was brought to the Taranaki region in 2021 as a result of a partnership between WITT and Ara Ake. The nationwide programme is striving to develop the next generation of engineers, technology innovators and entrepreneurs to accelerate New Zealand’s transition to electric vehicles and clean transportation and a more sustainable future.

Kerrie Thompson-Booth Deputy Director for the Schools of Trades, Training, Primary and Creative industries, and lead for automotive and mechanical engineering, is part of a team of WITT kaimahi mentoring the Taranaki students involved.

Kerrie says the EVolocity programme encourages secondary school students to design and build e-vehicles then compete and race them.

“This year the Taranaki region has over 70 secondary school students enrolled. Recently a number of them were invited to WITT for a build day where WITT was able to provide facilities and support and bring the student’s EVs to life.

Kerrie is a firm believer that the builds are student-led and the ideas are driven by the students themselves.

“EVolocity is all about getting the students to think. We’re not here to tell the students what to do, instead, we are there to make their plans come to life.”

“On the build days the students draw up their vehicles and we get to work helping them with whatever they need. Sometimes this is teaching them how to safely use the hacksaw or grinder or providing assistance with welding,” she said.

Kerrie said the EVolocity programme is an excellent initiative. 

“EVolocity opens doors for students allowing them to try fabrication, automotive or mechanical engineering. Students are then able to pathway to WITT through Trades Academy programmes, or study engineering as a full-time student,” she said.

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