Ten Eastern Bay Students recently learned what it was like to work in the electricity supply industry at Tarawera High School in Kawerau.
Organised by the Eastern Bay Energy Trusts (EBET) and Connexis, in conjunction with Tarawera High School, the eight-day taster course gave interested young people an insight into career opportunities.
EBET Chairman Don Lewell said over the years there had been a serious shortage of young people coming into the electricity supply industry so the trustees continued to make a major commitment to industry education and training.
The course is designed for 16-19 year-olds and includes the fundamentals of electricity, workshop practices, including the use of power tools and machining equipment, and work-place communication.
Kawerau Mayor, Malcolm Campbell said “I believe the key to unlocking our local economies is exposing our young people to the various opportunities we have here in Kawerau. I have watched this course take place and can already see the benefits an initiative like this will have on an area like ours”.
The course is one of a few in New Zealand where trainees participate full-time for eight days in a live situation staying on the schools marae and taking part in a variety of team dynamic and motivation exercise, as well as the full daytime learning programme.
The students were given the opportunity to visit such places like the Genesis Energy’s Huntly power station and Mighty River Power in Hamilton. Site visits also included the control room at Horizon Energy, Fonterra in Edgecumbe and the geothermal power stations in Kawerau which are operated by Nova Energy and Mighty River Power.
Tarawera High School student Tem Hata was awarded trainee of the year. Course Tutor Ewen Graves said “Tem stood out because I could see by the expression on his face that he was taking it all in. He stayed on task, showed commitment throughout all components of the course and demonstrated what he learnt by achieving high marks in his assessment.
Tem said “The course has provided me with a great insight into what career pathways exist. The field trips were great as they provided a real life view of possible jobs”.
This year, EBET will invest over $200,000 in education and training. This investment includes funds towards the Energy Education programme delivered in Eastern Bay Schools, the taster course as well as scholarships and apprenticeship programmes.
Mayor Campbell said, “It is critical that we have initiatives like this for our young people so they can gain real life experience and training and uncover the local opportunities that are available to them”.