Extending successful secondary-tertiary initiatives


After trialling several initiatives aimed at raising awareness of engineering and preparing students for tertiary study, Wintec plans to extend and improve them.

Successful programme leads students into engineering

Wintec’s pilot integrated engineering programme for Year 12 to 13 students has proved very successful. Students spend 15 hours a week at school and 12 at Wintec working on project-based learning in engineering contexts assessed by NCEA Maths and Physics standards. The programme has proved very successful – 10 out of 27 in the first cohort of Integrated Engineering students have enrolled to study towards the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (NZDE) next year.

Having been awarded Secondary-Tertiary Pathways Project funding, Wintec plans to continue delivering the programme in 2017 with partner schools Fairfield College and Fraser High School. Next year, it will include civil, mechanical and electrical engineering and CAD. Staff are looking at how to improve the programme and would also like to encourage more students to enrol in the Bachelor of Engineering Technology. In 2018, the programme will be opened up to another two schools.

School holiday/professional development programme

In response to a need identified by a community partner, Wintec also offered a school holiday and professional development programme. On two days, teachers and subject matter experts explored ways to contextualise Maths and Physics and use a project-based learning approach to engineering.

Over the next three days, Year 10 to 12 students participated in a project offering a taste of various engineering options, with teachers and experts applying some of their learning with the students. Faced with a zombie apocalypse, the students were asked to build a cage to contain an antidote….

The programme concluded with students presenting their work to their families and explaining the various aspects of their design, such as why they chose particular angles for their ramps.

Dallas Snape, Communities Portfolio- Product Manager at Wintec, says the students gained a good overview of engineering and what an engineer does. “Lots of them thought engineering was motor mechanics, but after three days of working as engineers they had a good understanding of what it involves.”

Wintec plans to repeat the programme next year.

In-school NCEA programme

Wintec also runs an in-school programme offering students the opportunity to achieve NCEA standards which will provide the knowledge required to take part in the integrated engineering programme or further tertiary engineering study.

Next year, Wintec staff are looking at adding more of a ‘design thinking’ approach to the programme. Plans are still tentative at this stage, but are likely to include spending more time working on professional development with teachers.

Dallas says that they want to co-design, with secondary school teachers, curriculum-related projects which will particularly appeal to girls. “Design thinking to engage girls in STEM-based, innovative social challenge is a really good way to build up girls’ confidence, through learning with their peer group and engaging with STEM in unique ways.”

The institute is also looking at how it can work with rural or smaller schools, which could involve an in-school model alongside bringing students into the city.

Our thanks to Dallas for her time and advice; if you have any queries please contact

December 2016