More than 300 secondary school students have been recognised for their work in the U-Skills Academy programme.

U-Skills programmes give secondary school students the option of learning at UCOL or UCOL-approved sites one day a week and going to school for the remainder of the week. The programmes focus on giving students industry-relevant skills and count towards NCEA.

U-Skills graduation ceremonies were held in Whanganui, Otaki, Palmerston North and Carterton, attended by students and families from 35 different schools.

All students were presented with a certificate of attendance and there were special awards for outstanding student, improvement and dedication. The special awards at the Whanganui ceremony were given to Ella Clark from Whanganui High School (outstanding student award), Max Murphy from Wanganui Collegiate (improvement award) and Whanganui City College's Linda Mooij (dedication award).

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Nicky Van der Bergh from UCOL said the programme was well supported by local schools.

"When the U-Skills Academy programmes first started in 2012, we had 81 enrolled students. This year 302 students completed programmes," Dr Van der Bergh said.

"A notable outcome from the U-Skills Academy programmes is that students tend to show greater engagement and participation, not only in these programmes but also at school."

Dr Van der Bergh said UCOL is working with the Ministry of Education, secondary schools, and students to co-design new U-Skills Academy programmes.