The school year is underway and soon it will be back to study for tertiary students at universities and local training institutes.
Here in Kapiti and Horowhenua we have some great training programmes underway to give our young people skills and qualifications.
A group of 20 students from Otaki, Kapiti and Manakau and Levin have already started studying carpentry over summer, as part of a course run by Weltech and Whitireia Community Polytechnic.
The first few weeks have seen the students based in Petone but they are now based at the Cleantech centre in Otaki. A carpentry programme will also be based at Kapiti College, starting this month.
We know the building industry is likely to be very busy in the future as the Christchurch reconstruction gets underway.
Later this month I’ll be speaking at the official opening of Whitireia Polytech’s new campus on Kapiti Road, in the refurbished Mitre 10 building.
The new facility will include a commercial training kitchen, cafe and bar, restaurant, beauty and hair salons, library, study hubs, classrooms and other training facilities.
Also this year a new Trades Academy will be run by UCOL, with courses held at Horowhenua Colleges.
This will provide practical skills training for Year 11 to 13 school students, allowing them to study for NCEA credits and tertiary qualifications at the same time.
It’s a great option because it means students can gain practical skills and experience without having to drop out of school.
Courses in mechanical engineering, fashion, beauty and hairdressing, joinery and electrical engineering will be on offer across the wider Manawatu region.
Horowhenua Learning Centre in Levin are also running some great programmes, helping students become work-ready.
It’s great to see courses like these being run locally, giving young people the chance to learn practical skills and boost their chances of finding work.
Last week saw New Zealand’s unemployment rate fall from 6.6% down to 6.3%, which is a good effort given how uncertain the world economy still is.
Over the past year 34,000 jobs have been created in the New Zealand economy and the number of unemployed has fallen. The challenge now is to keep building on that. Getting young people upskilled will play a big role in holding down a job in the modern economy.