Growing relationships with schools and industry

Growing relationships with schools and industry

NorthTec is growing relationships with schools – to highlight engineering and the diploma pathway into an engineering career – and launched a Year 13 Engineering Fundamentals programme this year.

Creating relationships with teachers and careers advisors

NorthTec continues its focus on creating relationships with teachers and careers advisors to highlight the opportunities in engineering and the diploma pathway into an engineering career. Since joining NorthTec in March, Secondary-Tertiary Pathways Project (STPP) project manager Jac Mogey has been busy visiting as many schools as possible. “I want to create an educational relationship so they can easily approach me about fitting engineering-related information or activities into their programmes.”

Highlighting local engineering opportunities

Growing relationships with industry is a vital part of the STPP programme.  It’s about raising awareness of engineering in general and highlighting engineering projects in the region so that students can more easily see engineering as a career they could be involved in.

“It’s about sharing the message – ‘We’re already doing engineering in Northland, it’s happening in your community’,” Jac says, “making them aware of home grown, local projects.”

Jac is also keen to help students who want to find out more about a specific project they think looks interesting or contact local engineering firms. “Generally, they’d leave it at that – we want to highlight the doors that students can knock on to find out more.”

Chasing up potential industry partners

In addition to contacting engineering companies she knows about, Jac also chases up anyone who could potentially be an industry partner, “Sometimes due to being in the right place at the right time:

  • Noticing a construction project, talking to workers and getting a business card to ring the boss – leading to a relationship with a local drilling company
  • Approaching the workers in hi-vis gear from the Glenbrook Vintage Railway steam train crew, who came into a café – resulting in a planned industry trip to Glenbrook
  • Chatting to a colleague from another region’s district council – discovering a family relationship with an engineering firm in Whangarei – and another local contact!

Visiting Glenbrook with Wintec

Following up the Glenbrook relationship led to an invitation to take students to the railway in Glenbrook. In collaboration with Wintec’s STPP project manager Kazlo Evans, Jan is planning to take a group of secondary school students to Glenbrook and Kazlo will bring a group from his programme.

Year 13 Engineering Fundamentals programme

NorthTec launched its Year 13 Engineering Fundamentals programme this year. Ten students (two of them girls) from five different schools attend for three hours one day a week. They are working towards the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (NZDE) Engineering Fundamentals paper [DE4101] and NCEA Level 3 Physics achievement standards.

“They’re enjoying it and come in with cool ideas.” NorthTec is providing transport to make the programme as accessible to students as it can. 

Pushing the message about the open-ended nature of engineering

Many of the students Jac meets don’t know about the different engineering disciplines. “We’re pushing the message that engineering is open-ended,” she says, “you’re not tied to a specific area or role. After gaining a qualification you could go on to something related but different from your initial expectations of your engineering career path.”

Engineering Information Day

NorthTec repeated last year’s Engineering Information Day – students learnt about engineering careers and developed bristlebots [robots made from a battery and toothbrush head].

An Opus cadet made a great impact when he talked about starting study for several different career pathways before enrolling to study towards the NZDE at the age of 25. “They were also impressed that he could start earning while still studying.”

Jac notes the importance of language in showing engineering is part of everyone’s world rather than something abstract. “When a student said she didn’t know how to create the bristle bot, I said ‘Yes, you do; you’re an engineer, so engineer it’ – and she did!”

Reaching out to girls

Jac notes that girls attending a careers information event were interested in finding out more about engineering after they’d talked to a female engineer. “They were particularly taken with a World of Wearable Arts image in the Make the World magazine, something they wouldn’t have associated with engineering.”
Make the World website

Get the Gist: Girls in Science and Trades

Jac is planning a series of talks for Year 10 – 13 girls in Terms 2 – 3. Get the Gist: Girls in Science and Trades will involve informal talks after school, possibly hosted at a different school each time. Women working in engineering, science and trade-related roles will talk to the girls about what they do and how they got there, and students will be able to ask questions about study, work and career pathways.

Physics tutoring to empower students

One-and-a-half hour physics tutoring sessions are running over Terms 1 – 3, twice a week after school. “The more we can do to empower students to consider they have the capacity to do physics,” says Jac, “the more likely they are to see the possibility of a career in engineering.”

“We tell them “You don’t have to be brilliant at physics and maths to start your engineering qualification – we will teach you!”

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

May 2018