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Schools and industry work together for students


One Tree Point teenager Marco Rodrigue knew university would be a waste of money for him. He was over school and he wanted to do practical, hands-on learning.

When his mate secured an apprenticeship with an electrical firm after taking part in Bream Bay College’s Gateway programme, Marco’s interest was sparked too.

“I approached the Gateway co-ordinator and was set up with Laser Electrical too,” says Marco. “I went to work every Monday over five months. I really enjoyed it. I’d always thought it would be a useful trade. I turned up on time and was tidier than I had ever been. The people at Laser treated me like a first year apprentice. I got good feedback, they said I made a good addition to the team and I really liked the people who worked there.

“When the placement ended I asked if there was an apprenticeship opportunity and they agreed to take me on. I start at the end of the school year.”

Marco has achieved NCEA Level 2 with a Vocational Pathway in Manufacturing & Technology – the qualification considered as foundational for success in further education and work-based training. The credits also align with what is necessary in the first year of an electrical apprenticeship, so he is well on his way to a bright future.

He also completed the Gateway placement unit package supplied by Skills.org.nz, and he achieved the Electro-technology 101 certificate - the first student in New Zealand to achieve that this year.

Gateway programmes are aligned to Vocational Pathways. Vocational Pathways provide a useful tool for course planning to provide cohesive learning options that are recommended by industry.

General manager for Laser Electrical Whangarei, Ryan Trigg, says they have had only positive experiences with the students sent their way.

“We are always on the lookout for new apprentices. Generally we take a new one every year and have two or three placements. If the students are any good, we look at taking the next step. We have a couple of the guys trained up as assessors. It’s up to the students to fill out the paperwork and if they do the job well and learn onsite, we are happy to sign off their credits,” says Ryan.

Bream Bay College co-ordinator, Gina D’Ath, says the school puts 48 students through the placement programme each year.

“It is an awesome taster for students to experience industries they may not otherwise have the opportunity to. We have a small community but some big industry players such as Marsden Point Oil Refinery and NIWA’s landmark Bream Bay Aquaculture Park. Our goal as a school is to work with industry to keep improving the links between education and the workforce,” says Gina.

n Good qualifications are essential to securing a good job and a higher income. For more information about vocational pathways check out youthguarantee.net.nz/start-your-journey/

SUPPORT: Working hard during his Gateway placement has led to an electrical apprenticeship for student Marco Rodrigue.
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