TPP engineering graduates preferred by industry
West Coast employers are looking to Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s (TPP’s) Engineering programmes to help address skills shortages in the job market.
TPP offers Mechanical Engineering training in the new workshop at its Westport campus to help students get a foot-in-the-door to an engineering Apprenticeship. Tutor Gary Riddell says the programme has strong connections with employers around the West Coast, there are good opportunities for graduates and some spaces still remain for programmes starting early this year.
“We know there’s a national skills shortage and there are definitely job opportunities on the West Coast for people that work hard at their training. Trades training has got a real boost nationally and it’s becoming a very attractive career option for people – both in terms of wages and future career growth.”
Equip Engineering Managing Director Lee Swinburn says there are job gaps on the West Coast right now.
“We work with TPP tutors to identify talented students and we find the have the foundation to get started in the workshop straight away. They are generally ahead of the eight-ball compared to people who come in with no previous experience. That’s great as it reduces time spent on start-up training when they come on board prepared.
“Engineering is a fantastic profession for career growth and remuneration regularly rises as training achievements are reached. The TPP engineering programme is a great way for people to get an insight to the industry, so by the time they reach us we know they’ve made the decision to stick at it,” he says.
TPP 2018 graduate Jed Walsh is working in an apprenticeship for Bathurst Mining and says it was his training that got him the career break he’s always wanted.
“The training is hands-on in the polytech workshop and it was the fact that I’d had that experience that got me in the door. The tutors are really experienced and they work one-on-one with students to encourage you when you’re doing well and help when you’re not. It gives you the confidence to keep going and get started in a job.
“The training definitely got me to where I am today. I worked hard and was really pleased when they confirmed I could start my apprenticeship. My aim is just to keep learning and now I have real options for the future,” he says.
Mike McMillan, of Dispatch & Garlick Engineering, agrees that the local industry is buoyant and employers are looking for staff.
“Of course, we are very keen to find people with several years’ experience, but we know they’re just not out there. We also want to bring in people just starting out so we can take them through their apprenticeship and move them up in the business.
“We’ve taken on people from TPP in the past and the basic skills they bring with them make them much more valuable than someone with no knowledge of the industry. Doing a programme like the one offered at TPP will definitely help them get started with an employer,” Mr McMillan says.
Tutor Gary Ridell says the Westport Engineering workshop is a fantastic facility for students gain a realworld experience of working on the workshop floor.
“We can take students through the basics of training – covering foundation skills including machining operations, welding, CAD drawing and operations. We also work through health and safety requirements, as well as basic literacy, numeracy and life skills that get them ready for work.”
Image caption: TPP Mechanical Engineering graduate Thor Gardiner operating machinery at TPP’s engineering workshop.
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