Trades Academy director Graeme Watson with Caleb Johnson (left) and Thomas Trotter (both 17). Photo supplied.
The supply of quality engineers, plumbers, automotive
mechanics and carpenters in Otago looks assured after Taieri
College's Trades Academy recently became a Competenz
Competenz is a multi-sector industry training organisation
which designs and manages technical and business
qualifications, to make sure the New Zealand workforce is
In recent years, the engineering industry has become
frustrated by the inconsistent quality of pupils who have
completed level 2 National Certificates as a pre-trade
However, the ''Competenz Accredited'' stamp of quality -
established in 2011 - has highlighted schools which have met
strict training standards that satisfy industry needs.
Taieri College Trades Academy director and technology
curriculum director Graeme Watson was delighted with the
Few schools achieved the recognition, he said.
''Competenz saw the number of trades academies starting up
around New Zealand, and they wanted to have a stamp of
accreditation to give to schools so employers know that that
school is teaching the same level and quality as
Mr Watson established the academy about a decade ago,
following meetings with parents, the trades industry and
Today, he has 25 pupils, all on individual programmes.
''I recently had a boy come to me to see if he could do a
course in turf management, so I'm seeing what I can do to
help him towards that.''
As part of the accreditation process Competenz visited the
school to inspect his workshop to make sure he had adequate
machinery and equipment and was teaching in a safe manner, Mr
They also looked at his courses, systems and paperwork to
make sure they were on the same level as polytech courses.
Mr Watson said he was an advanced motor mechanic by trade,
but started teaching 28 years ago.
''So far, we've had some very good success at getting
students into trades careers.
''I've had people go straight into second-year
apprenticeships at Scott Technology, Gough's, metal sprayers
and some of the top engineering and automotive firms. It
seems to be really working.''