The success of 302 secondary school students who completed U-Skills Academy programmes this year was recognised at ceremonies in Otaki, Palmerston North, Whanganui and Carterton.
Students from 35 secondary schools around the regions attended with their friends and family.
All students were presented with a Certificate of Attendance, and there were special awards for Outstanding Student, Improvement, and Dedication.
Laura McIntyre, who completed the U-Skills Academy
Health and Automotive programmes in 2015 and 2016, was a guest speaker at the Palmerston North prize-giving. Miss McIntyre says her experiences in the U-Skills Academy programmes gave her the confidence to volunteer at a school in Fiji after she finished secondary school.
“If I hadn’t done those U-Skills Academy programmes, I wouldn’t have gone to Fiji to volunteer for six months. I was home schooled, so U-Skills Academy helped me to become social and take the steps to becoming an adult.”
“My advice to students is to not say no when opportunities like U-Skills Academy come their way.”
UCOL Executive Director Student Success Dr Nicky Van der Bergh says the growth of the U-Skills Academy programmes over the years would not have been possible without the support of the secondary schools.
“When the U-Skills Academy programmes first started in 2012, we had 81 enrolled students. This year 302 students completed programmes. Part of this success is how students and schools have embraced U-Skills Academy programmes as extensions of what is offered in the classroom.”
U-Skills Academy 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. U-Skills Academy programmes focus on giving students industry-relevant skills and count towards NCEA. They also give students a taste of what it’s like to study at UCOL after they finish secondary school.
“A notable outcome from the U-Skills Academy programmes is that students tend to show greater engagement and participation, not only in these programme but also at school” said Dr Van der Bergh.
UCOL is working with the Ministry of Education, secondary schools, and students to co-design new U-Skills Academy programmes, creating more options for students to bridge the secondary-tertiary experience.
Top Award Winners
Improvement: Huia Rehu-Murchie (Otaki College)
Dedication: Elijah Stevenson (Otaki College)
Outstanding Student (joint winners): Jordan Lacey (Freyberg High School) & Jenni Knightly (Totara College)
Improvement (joint winners): Wajahat Ali Muhammad Jawad (Awatapu College) & Kyana Barrett-Smith (Otaki College)
Dedication: Josh Claridge (Palmerston North Boys’ High School)
Outstanding Student: Ella Clark (Wanganui High School)
Improvement: Max Murphy (Wanganui Collegiate)
Dedication: Linda Mooij (Wanganui City Colleeg)
Improvement: Nicole Ekenasio (Te Kura Correspondence School)
Dedication: Andrew Miles (Chanel College)
Outstanding Student: Liam Allingham (Chanel College)
Pictured above: Josh Claridge of Palmerston North Boys’ High School won the Dedication Award at the Palmerston North U-Skills Academy prize-giving.