Scramble for places in oil-drilling course

Witt has been overwhelmed with more than 100 applications for its inaugural oil-drilling course that only has 16 vacancies on offer.

Chief executive Barbara George said the institute had been inundated with applications for its inaugural level-three Certificate in Hydrocarbon Drilling with 103 applications jostling for space.

The course is offered under its engineering, oil and gas flagship programme.

Head of technology Glen West said numbers were whittled down to 40 students who were invited for an interview with both Witt and Petroleum Skills Association members.

Sixteen students were then offered a place in the programme and Mr West said small student numbers allowed for a better tutor-student ratio.

A second intake will be offered in July to cope with demand and need for the industry, Mr West said.

The 17-week hydrocarbon course is aimed at providing students with basic workplace skills to prepare them for entry-level employment in the drilling industry.

Students will have the opportunity to spend about two lots of three-week blocks out by drilling rigs, developing hands-on skills.

But drilling is not the only subject attracting high demand, with Witt's level-three Certificate in Fashion Make-up Artistry course attracted 49 applications.

Students are provided with a basic makeup kit for the course and, by the end of the it, would have the skills needed to create various looks, ranging from day makeup to period-inspired appearances.

There will also be opportunities for employment within the makeup industry such as pharmacies, cosmetic counters and makeup houses, Mr West said.

Enrolment numbers have also grown by 28 per cent from the same time last year for its Diploma in Professional Cookery with Internship course, with 79 students enrolled.

Thirty-two of them are international students while 47 are domestic.

The year's operational and capital budget was also discussed at its meeting yesterday.

Witt has a consolidated surplus of $738,000 to run its day-to-day operations.

The $738,000 is made up of its parent operating surplus of $358,000 (an increase of $281,000 from 2013 and does not include dividends from the New Zealand Institute of Highway Technology) and the NZIHT projected surplus of $380,000 (a $407, 000 decrease from 2013 due to reduced government funding).

A proposed capital expenditure budget of $2,317,000 has also been set aside for the 2014 year with allocated spendings of $543,000 to buildings, $555,000 to IT investments, $500,000 to campus redevelopment and $333,000 to programme-specific plant and machinery upgrades.

Provision has also been made in the capital budget for course development work, with $40,000 to marine, $25,000 to new degree and initial fundings later in the year around state-of-the-art learning at $20,000.

Growing and staffing its flagship engineering, oil and gas programme comes with an associated capital expenditure of $150,000.

Taranaki Daily News