Trades Academy aims set students on study path

STACEY KNOTT
Last updated 12:00 22/02/2014

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About 300 high school students from the top of the south will be getting a taste of trades training this year, in a bid to inspire them to take up further study.

Students converged on the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology yesterday to start the new year of the trades academy.

Shaaron Adams, Top of the South Trades Academy manager, said the academy had 100 students when it launched in March 2012 and has grown to 300 students enrolled this year.

The academy is a partnership between the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT), secondary schools across the top of the south and Whenua iti Outdoors. It is funded by the Ministry of Education as part of its Youth Guarantee policy.

Students accepted in to the Trades Academy complete NCEA at school, while at the same time work towards a national certificate in a trade, they train one day a week at NMIT campuses, Whenua iti Outdoors or at select schools.

Students study in a range of areas, including hospitality, hair and beauty, aviation engineering and mechanical engineering.

Mrs Adams said the academy met the needs of a variety of students, and encouraged them to stay in school.

"It is not just for kids who are struggling academically, for aquaculture they need to be clued up on sciences as well as being good with their hands."

She said the trades academy inspired some students to go on to further tertiary study, such as at NMIT and the academy was in line with the government target to get 85 per cent of 18-year-olds with at least NCEA level by 2017.

Schools from all over the top of the south are involved with the academy including Rai Valley Area School.

Rai Valley Area School principal Angela Sloane said they had nine students in the trades academy this year, and it was the second year they were involved.

"I think it's a wonderful way to give students experience of the polytechnic environment and life on campus."

Former Rai Valley student Ethan Aitchison was at NMIT enrolled in a business administration course this year. He said he was inspired to do the course after taking part in the trades academy last year.

"I thought it was really good, the tutors were good, it was quite interesting, we got to do quite a lot. It was such a nice learning environment I decided if I was going to study it would be here," Mr Aitchison said.

Merita Waitoa-Paki, Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Tuia te Matangi principal, said the Maori language immersion school had two students in the academy, in hospitality and sports.

"It's a great opportunity for us and for all the schools. This is the first time we have joined, it's good for our school to be able to mix with other schools and give our students more opportunity for some special subjects."

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As the school developed she said it would have more students enrolled in the trades academy.

- The Nelson Mail

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