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The minister attended the official launch of the Southland and Otago Regional Engineering Collective academy and later visited the Tokomairiro High School forestry training programme.
As he talked with principals from Tokomairiro, Roxburgh and South Otago high schools, Mr Nash said based on his own life experiences from the Hawke’s Bay, he would continue to ask the primary industry to look at ways to provide career aspiration incentives to young people.
‘‘Secondary students need the industry exposure to make these career choices and what was happening here in Clutha gives senior students ideas to think about.’’
Pupils from the high schools were already taking part in an engineering industry training programme under the tutelage of staff at Agri Crates and Engineering, of Te Houka.
The minister went to view the variety of metalwork projects they had been working on.
The academy is an industry/education experiential learning programme for senior high school pupils. It helps them develop an understanding of engineering as a potential career opportunity, while remaining at school and completing their NCEA.
The programme was developed following detailed discussions between the engineering collective, the Ministry of Education, school representatives and engineering businesses.
Funding from the Provincial Growth Fund enabled the academy to launch a pilot in South Otago in January.
SOREC general manager Ceri Macleod said the initiative was made possible by PGF funding managed by the Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit.
“SOREC was developed by industry, for industry, to promote connections, capacity and capability across the southern region’s manufacturing engineering sector.
‘‘The sector workforce engagement programme had helped get the engineering academy off the ground.’’
She said the pilot had been very successful and she was looking forward to it being rolled out throughout Otago and Southland.
Following the official opening, the minster and his entourage took part in a sod-turning ceremony to mark the start of construction on the Clutha Community Hub.
Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan said the success of the engineering collective and the community hub were two great community initiatives in the district that fostered growth and innovation, thanks to regional investment.