Wellington 24 October 2019:
This week’s announcement by the Government of a 27
percent increase in places to be made available at Trades
Academies and Gateway secondary-tertiary programmes for
school students has been welcomed by the nation’s
infrastructure sector training organisation, Connexis.
The move, which involves the largest single increase in
Trades Academy places in recent years, will fund 2,000 more
places at Trades Academies from 2020, and up to 2,000 more
places for Gateway programmes.
This comes in conjunction
with the Government announcement for a new
education-to-employment brokerage service through the
Ministry of Social Development, a promotional campaign for
vocational education, and more funding for industry
speed-dating events, modelled off the Industry Training
Organisations SpeedMeets events in which school students
obtain face-to-face meetings with local employers.
Beaglehole, Chief Executive of Connexis Infrastructure
Industry Training, says the boost to Trades Academy and
Gateway programmes and promotion of trade careers is another
clear indication of the value that the Government places on
vocational education and training.
“Connexis also shares
the Government’s commitment to raising the profile of
vocational education in schools and communities around New
Zealand in its current Review of Vocational Education
“Connexis is a forward-focused organisation and
we recognise that to fill the skills shortages New Zealand
faces we need to think long-term. The need to expose
secondary students to trade-based jobs prior to completing
school is a vital part of the picture.”
As part of its
wide range of industry-specific training programmes,
Connexis operates a partnership with the Top of the South
Trades Academy, based in Stoke.
Top of the South Trades Academy
Manager, Shaaron James, says the partnership programme,
which has been running for three years, gives secondary
students in the region an opportunity to gain relevant
infrastructure industry unit standard based training while
still at school.
“The programme has evolved now to offer
two weeks’ work experience with local employers in addition
to one day per week training. All of our students have gone
on to work within the infrastructure industry, undertaken
further training or gone into employment. Our recent joint
top students were both young women, which goes to show the
development of the industry in terms of gender
Toby adds that Connexis is fully engaged with
school-based initiatives such as Trades Academies, Gateway,
SpeedMeets as well as its own initiatives such as Girls with
Hi-vis®, all aimed at supporting industry employers in
addressing the skills shortages being faced.
there is a real need for more workers in our industry,
research shows that a trade career is a smart career choice
for school leavers. Research conducted by BERL shows that
the financial position, at the end of their career, for
those leaving school and entering the workforce to take up
an apprenticeship is on par with those that choose to
undertake a bachelor’s degree.
“The difference is
that those undertaking an apprenticeship are more likely to
purchase a house earlier and have a higher net financial
position throughout their career than those heading down the
“Schools are, and will continue to be, a
crucial part of vocational education,” says Toby Beaglehole.
“Connexis welcomes the Government’s latest step to better
link schools with the world of work.”
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