Southern Institute of Technology | Te Pūkenga have developed a pilot trades programme for year 10 students from Southland Girls’ High School (SGHS) to give them access to training which could help create a pathway for those interested in pursuing a career in trades.
SIT Tertiary Academy Co-ordinator, Trudy Brown said SIT had the opportunity to assist Southland Girls’ High School by providing access to trades programmes, as the specialist facilities to offer options in the fields of carpentry and engineering were not available on-site at the school. The programme, Hard Materials, (traditionally known as metal work and wood work), gives a selected group of year 10 girls a taste of Carpentry, Joinery and Engineering, by developing basic skills and knowledge associated with those subjects.
Mrs Brown said the criteria for running the pilot was that it had to fit in with the girls’ current timetable so they could still complete their other subjects. “Girls applied for the programme advising their areas of interest to qualify for selection.” Participating students attend seven classes every two weeks, for terms three and four.
Other factors had fallen into place to see the pilot successfully launched, including tutor availability and local business support. “McCallums Drycleaning have been fantastic and are sponsoring the girls’ uniforms,” Mrs Brown added. Paul Harrington, Group Sales and Marketing Manager at McCallums, said the company was pleased to “get in behind such a great initiative which encourages girls into the trades sector”.
SIT set up a similar scheme with Wakatipu High School in Queenstown in 2021, requiring the same criteria (fitting in with the student timetable), and while there was “quite a lot of work involved in setting up the programme, we know that we can succeed ... we can see the potential in it,” Mrs Brown said.
A successful pilot will allow those girls interested in a trades career a clear pathway from high school into their vocational training at tertiary level. “We are off to a great start with high attendance; feedback from the girls has been very positive,” Mrs Brown said. “It’s great for the girls and for the school to offer these subjects for current and future students.”
SGHS year 10 student, Anyia Hamilton, is taking part in the pilot programme because she thought it would be something different to try and it provided the opportunity to learn skills which related to what her father does. “My Dad is head of Jennian Homes Otago Southland, I like helping him out in the shed.” Finding the course “a lot of fun”, she is enjoying learning on the power drills and machinery in the SIT workshop. “You feel quite grown-up ... I’ve never really done something like this before. It’s opening me up to new options and experiences.” Miss Hamilton says she is learning good life skills as well, by having an idea on how things are built and the designing behind them. “It’s also good knowing about Health and Safety and where the boundaries are. Health and Safety comes into all sorts of jobs, even if I don’t end up in trades,” she was still gaining the benefits, she said.
Southland Girls’ High School Principal, Yvonne Browning, said the school was delighted to be able to partner with the Southern Institute of Technology to offer their year 10 students the opportunity to access the first-class, high-quality facilities and equipment at SIT.
“We see this initiative as being important to ensuring our students experience and learn about the potential pathways that the Trades have to offer. This reflects our desire to continually strive and provide exciting and innovative learning possibilities to inspire and extend our students to widen their areas of interest,” said Mrs Browning.