Whanganui automotive industry representatives gathered at Whanganui UCOL’s new automotive workshop this week to discuss trades training options in Whanganui.
The workshop, located on Hatrick Street, is the training environment for UCOL's Certificate in Automotive Engineering Level 3, a pre-apprenticeship qualification where students can learn real skills in the workshop environment before they enter the workforce.
Maurice Filer, UCOL Head of School Automotive Industries, says the event confirmed research that demonstrated a need for continued professional development, as well as entry level training in the automotive industry in Whanganui.
"Employers know that apprentices require time and training which in turn costs money. If we can make sure that new apprentices can walk through the door of a workshop with a basic mechanical skill set and the theory to back it, then they can be of real use to their employers, and start making money from day dot."
UCOL Executive Dean Trades and Technology, Dr Nicky Van der Bergh, says local trades training at every level is essential for regional growth.
"We have to train our people so that they can service their community. We are looking into providing professional development short courses for mechanical and automotive industry engineers, some of which will be formally assessed, and we are exploring carpentry and engineering programme options."
Dr Van der Bergh also acknowledges the importance of continued close relationships and feedback between UCOL and Whanganui industry.
"We need to make sure that we are developing students who make a difference wherever they work, and the way we do that is by matching the skills we teach to industry needs."
There are currently 15 students studying the Certificate in Automotive Engineering with the programme set to run again in 2017. These students will be ready to enter the workforce at the end of this year.
Enrolments are open now for February 2017 intakes in Whanganui, Palmerston North and Wairarapa.