December 6th, 2012
Students fabricate a career in engineering
Year 12 and 13 mechanical engineering students in Auckland and Christchurch were given a peek behind the scenes when two engineering companies from each city opened their doors for a recent Competenz careers open day. The objective? To show students how a vocational pathway, which they start at school, enables them to link up with a trades apprenticeship.
Engineering students from Linwood College and Hillmorton High School in Christchurch spent a day visiting Hamilton Jet and Lyttelton Engineering. While Auckland engineering students from Manukau’s Aorere College and Papatoetoe High School visited Grayson Engineering, Stevenson Engineering and Blackwoods Protector Safety – all accompanied by their engineering teachers and Competenz staff.
“The careers open days were a rare chance for mechanical engineering students to watch tradespeople at work,” explains Competenz Trades Training General Manager, Fiona Kingsford. “Students were able to see first-hand what they might be doing in a trades career, and how the subjects they choose at school can prepare them for an apprenticeship.”
Linwood College Gateway Co-ordinator Jean Brown thought the day presented an important opportunity. "We can 'talk' to students about different careers but actually visiting workplaces, seeing them in action, getting the feel of the place and listening to 'real' workers is far more engaging for them."
And Aorere College Deputy Principal Stuart Kelly said the careers open day was brilliant. “It helps bridge the gap between industry and school. With these onsite visits teachers and students can see the trades career pathways more clearly, especially when they are given a talk from someone like Jason Cancare at Stevenson Engineering.”
Technical Account Manager Jason Cancare told the ambitious young group what Stevenson looks for in apprentices. “Stevenson only recruits top-level apprentices. Maths, English and computing skills are really important. Pre-trade training helps, as it shows an employer you’re keen. You have to have the right attitude. You have to be passionate. You have to be prepared to do overtime. A trade can be stressful, but also very satisfying.”
It’s hoped that Competenz will run more careers open days next year so that further secondary students can be exposed to what a trade’s career is really like, and can prepare to be work ready while still at school.