More engineering students for Northland

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NorthTec STEM Team Leader Nigel Studdart.
NorthTec STEM Team Leader Nigel Studdart.

The number of engineering students in Northland is set to increase, following a successful funding application from NorthTec to a national campaign.

Working with schools and communities both locally and in remote regions of Northland, the project will provide special programmes for students in Years 10 to 13, giving them introductory "tasters" to engineering, leading to part-time programmes for Year 13 students.

Julian Blank, NorthTec's youth development manager, said participating students would get an insight into engineering careers, and the opportunities available to them after completing the two-year, internationally-recognised New Zealand Diplomas in Engineering (Civil and Electrical).

"Year 13 students will have the chance to gain an early start on the Diploma in Engineering while still at school, giving them the opportunity to apply for cadetships with engineering firms," Mr Blank said.

The programme will use a project-based approach to build skills and abilities, preparing the students to study engineering at tertiary level and they will also be linked to working engineers who will provide a mentor role.

NorthTec was one of six successful applicants nationally to receive funding through the Tertiary Education Commission's (TEC) Engineering Education 2 Employment (EE2E) Secondary-Tertiary Pathways Project.

Nigel Studdart, NorthTec STEM team leader, said the project was designed to increase the number of young people going on to study engineering at tertiary level, by promoting and showcasing the subject to students who would not otherwise see it as an option.

It would build on collaborative relationships already established in Whangarei, where NorthTec worked with high schools to provide taster experiences in a variety of subjects.

He said NorthTec tutors and mentors would demonstrate the diversity within the engineering field, from civil, electrical and mechanical engineering through to chemical and environmental engineering and materials ecology.

"Each student will be assigned a mentor who works in an area that is related to the student's own interests. This helps students see the type of employment they might get into with an engineering qualification, and will also be a link into the industry," he said. "These are tomorrow's problem-solvers, who will make our world a better place to live."

- Northern Advocate

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