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New electrical engineering course meets community demand in Wairarapa – UCOL Te Pukenga

UCOL | Te Pūkenga has announced that they will be offering a new electrical engineering course at their Wairarapa campus in 2024.

Bob Stewart, the Academic Portfolio Manager (APM) for Primary, Trades, Language & Arts at UCOL Wairarapa, says that the course was developed to meet huge demand from the community.

“We had so many people enquiring about this course at our trades week, so we decided to deliver two electrical engineering programmes. We’ll be offering an in-school programme, which takes place one day a week, as well as the Level 3 pre-trade programme, which runs three days a week. The latter will be our main course taught here on campus.”

Mr Stewart says the aim of the main course is to get ākonga into apprenticeships as electricians.

“We cover all the core skills that apprentices need to be useful in the workplace. It’s actually a great way to become qualified because they get the foundational knowledge with us and it also takes approximately one year off their overall apprenticeship. It’s a win-win.”

The course is for anyone looking to become a residential or commercial electrician, says Mr Stewart.

“Ākonga (learners) are going to learn about the AC/DC electrical fundamentals. This means they’ll gain skills that let them work across the industry. From commercial solar farms and regenerative energy to the classic bread-and-butter sparky work – they’ll be ready.

“They’re not bound to these fields of work either. If they want to join companies like Powerco or Wairarapa-based PRSL, working on transformers and fixing power lines, we have modules on that too.”

The course is packed with lots of hands-on experience, says Mr Stewart.

“When you go into an apprenticeship straight away, the first year or more usually involves driving a broom, packing a van, cleaning up after a sparky and observing. For the first year at UCOL, they still do these things, but they also get to draw cable, fit off lights and wire up houses.”

“They get a real taster with us, so they know what to expect on the job. This means that when they get a job or apprenticeship, sparkies can take them, run with them, and know they have the skills, the experience, and the interest for the trade.”

For anyone looking to take their first steps into the electrical industry, UCOL is the perfect place to start, says Mr Stewart.

“Our electrical engineering course provides ākonga with that safe space to learn about the tools, techniques, and theory. It’s an opportunity to make mistakes while getting support from their lecturer, as opposed to being under the pump in the workplace.

“If you have a family member who’s interested in becoming a qualified electrician, tell them to get in touch with us and get a head start on their apprenticeship journey. With lots of energy companies popping up around Wairarapa, it’s a great time to get involved.

“If they’re still at school and going into year 12 or 13, they can ask their careers advisor about the U-Skills programme. It’s a good chance to dip their feet in while earning NCEA credits.”


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