June 6th, 2013

Showing teachers an engineering career pathway

Career options in the engineering industry are vast – yet we still can’t find enough ambitious apprentices to work in New Zealand businesses. That’s why over 45 teachers and careers advisors from 28 Auckland secondary schools attended the Engineering Futures – Skills Update Day.

Held at Fisher & Paykel’s East Tamaki Plant, the day was jointly hosted by Competenz, Careers New Zealand and Futureintech and was designed to explore the world of engineering with a series of discussions and presentations.

Teachers and careers advisors are key influencers and a primary source of information for students. So by keeping them up-to-date with the latest industry developments, more promising students will be guided into the right engineering pathways.

“As someone from a non-technical background I had a lot to learn and I have a responsibility to my students to be up-to-speed,” says Annie McKillop, Careers Advisor at St Paul’s College. “I loved the day and I have been able to pass on the information back to everyone at school.”

Keynote speaker Kim Campbell, CEO of the Employers and Manufacturers Association, spoke about the importance of engineering and “making things” to the New Zealand economy. He shared his “4 A’s of employee success” gained after his decades of experience running manufacturing businesses in New Zealand and internationally:

1.       Attitude

2.       Aptitude

3.       Ambition

4.       Action

Campbell told attendees that “businesses want employees who have civic skills and confidence, and are not afraid of hard work”.

These same sentiments were reinforced by a panel of engineering graduates and a panel of top engineering employers including managers from BECA and HEB Construction. The two panels agreed that further skills and qualities they look for when hiring include:

  • A love of problem solving
  • An inquisitive mind
  • Maths skills
  • Communication skills
  • Ability to work in teams

The event also showcased Competenz mechanical engineering apprentice, Leighton Foster, who works for Fisher & Paykel. Leighton wanted to dispel the perception that an apprenticeship is a ‘lesser’ qualification than a degree, and described how it is in fact a highly skilled career pathway.

Feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive. We hope to host another Skills Update Day soon, helping to ensure apprentices with the right skills and attitude will join the engineering industry which is so fundamental to the New Zealand economy.

If you would like to be invited to a future Skills Update Day, please email us with your name.