SIT - Te Pūkenga hosted a ‘Trade Taster Day’ recently for Year 8 students from Southland Girls’ High School (SGHS), allowing them to get up close and hands-on with the Engineering and Construction trades training options on offer at SIT.
Held on August 10th, the day was split into two for the 154 students; three classes were on-site at SGHS, where students created a mobile phone charger holder with tuition from SIT’s Carpentry department. Another three classes were transported to SIT, where they were taken on tours of the Carpentry, Joinery, Engineering and Automotive departments.
Students also got some hands-on experience with a range of interactive activities designed to be fun, held in SIT’s Hansen Hall. The activities included naming the tools of the trade, building electrical circuits, learning the basics of welding by using the augmented reality (AR) welders, as well as competing against each other in undertaking a timed spark plug challenge.
Prizes were awarded for the highest quality welding on the AR welder, quickest time on the spark plug challenge, the most correct answers from the ‘Name the tools of the trade’ activity, and ‘The tidiest and most engaging class on-site at SGHS to complete their projects’.
Luke Mason, SIT Head of School – Engineering, says the opportunities for women to study and work in the engineering and construction industries are limitless. “Having the opportunity to engage and work with SGHS to give the Year 8 students a taste of what their potential careers could be, is invaluable,” he stated.
Trudy Brown, Murihiku Tertiary Academy Co-ordinator, who organised the day with fellow trades’ colleagues, said SIT ran a similar taster day for the Year 8s in 2021. The motivation behind this is to “plant seeds in these young minds early on, encouraging them to take on any opportunities that come their way within their learning”, she explained. “Hopefully, the students will be inspired,” and know how to pursue the trade of their choice through the learning pathways provided: STAR 10-week programmes, into the Murihiku Tertiary Academy, then on to further tertiary study, an apprenticeship or full-time employment.
SGHS Head of Junior School, Amanda Tiplady, agreed, and said the day was a huge success. They’d received great feedback from the survey completed by attending students and teachers. Ninety percent of the respondents rated the event highly, with students taking on board the positive messages they received during the day: “anybody can do trades”, “work hard and stay in school”, and “have a go and try everything”. Students also relished the opportunities to test themselves in the challenges, with numerous positive comments from those who’d tried the welding, electrical circuit and spark plug challenges. One student remarked “trades was way more interesting than I thought it would be.”
Attending teachers noticed how involved their students were, with high levels of participation, as well as seeking more information from SIT trades staff: “As a teacher and [my] first time seeing trades at SIT, I felt the tour was a great experience. Many students were engaged with questions and it obviously sparked interest.”
Mrs Tiplady said they looked forward to making the event a regular feature for the Year 8 students, “to assist them in the decision-making process in choosing their future careers”.