Learning on the job at WelTec’s Trades Academy

Issue: Volume 95, Number 6

Posted: 11 April 2016
Reference #: 1H9d1A

Studying at WelTec’s Trades Academy opened the door for Denno Veratau, 19, to achieve NCEA Level 2 and a Vocational Pathways Award in Construction and Infrastructure. He is now studying towards a Level 3 Certificate in Carpentry and one day aims to run his own construction company.

While still at school, 19-year-old Denno realised he had a natural ability in carpentry and excelled in it as part of his design and technology course at Wellington’s Onslow College.

“My work was good, my teacher said it was almost as perfect as his! I told my Dad, ‘I’m going to be a builder’,” Denno says.

His ability and aspirations to be a builder led him to apply for a place with WelTec’s Trades Academy in 2014, his final year at school. This helped him achieve NCEA Level 2 and contributed to a Vocational Pathways Award in Construction and Infrastructure.

Denno says the obvious path forward was the Level 3 Certificate in Carpentry at WelTec’s new Regional School of Construction, which he began in March this year. By the end of the programme Denno’s class will have built a three-bedroom, relocatable house.

Denno now spends four days a week on the WelTec construction site. Fridays are a critical part of Denno’s learning as they are spent on the job with a qualified builder so he gains knowledge of how to operate in a real work environment, ensuring his learning has a practical component.

Ministry of Education Acting Group Manager for Youth Guarantee Graeme Marshall says Vocational Pathways for young people allow learning to happen both inside and outside the traditional classroom.

“Relevance is crucial in education, and can only be achieved when industry is actively involved in supporting study. Students can gain real life skills and qualifications while using Vocational Pathways and can see how their study choices relate to future job or career options."

“Vocational Pathways allow students to get relevant qualifications which will set them up for their next steps, whether into tertiary study, industry training or employment. We are encouraging businesses and educational institutions around the country to create partnerships to provide this relevance.”

Wellington Regional School of Construction tutor John Clench says work experience is a valuable addition to students’ learning while on the programme.

“Work experience can be the student’s ticket to a cadetship with a construction company which combines full-time employment with study and learning towards a national qualification. Some students like Denno will already have contacts in the industry through family and friends and will quickly develop a good reputation.”

John says students are learning skills in an environment that replicates the workplace.

“They are learning what it is really like on a building site, how components go together and they thrive in the environment. The way we deliver our programmes means our graduates are highly sought after by employers, who appreciate the work readiness of our graduates.”

Denno agrees. Already his work diary, which is a log of what he has done, is full of what he has learnt – reading and working from a set of construction drawings, setting out profiles, constructing sub-floor bearers, joists, and putting in under-floor insulation.

Denno says he plans on studying towards achieving a Level 4 National Certificate in Carpentry. From there he will work towards becoming a licensed building practitioner and with this qualification he would like to start up the Veratau Construction Company. Denno is on a clear pathway to his building dream.

The Youth Guarantee

The Youth Guarantee provides 15–19-year-olds with more opportunities to study towards achieving NCEA Level 2 through programmes that make sense to them and provide a direct route to further education, training and employment.

In 2016 there will be 6,190 Trades Academy places for students throughout the country.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 1:57 PM, 11 April 2016

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