New Trades Training Facility
UCOL has announced plans to upgrade trades training facilities in Palmerston North on its site in Princess Street. UCOL Chief Executive Paul McElroy said that the upgrade will future proof a place for trades training in the future, provide a modern and exciting learning space for staff and students that meets 21st Century needs, and be open in time for classes next year.
“Add to this today’s announcement by Education Minister Anne Tolley that UCOL will coordinate a new Trades Academy based at UCOL in Palmerston North, with hubs in Whanganui and Masterton, the new facility becomes a necessity, and strengthens the opportunities for trades training even further, said Mr McElroy.
“The new Trades Academy will offer trades and technology related programmes to secondary students, as part of a new partnership between UCOL, local schools, industry groups, employers, industry training organisations and other training organisations. The partnership approach helps students to progress smoothly and directly through secondary school via tertiary education into employment. We need to get on with the job now of getting this set up and getting all parties together.”
Another factor in the decision to upgrade the facility was the information coming out of the Christchurch earthquake. “We have had all our buildings at UCOL assessed by engineers and the new trades area will replace some older parts of buildings which would not perform well in a significant earthquake if we have one approaching what they had down south” said McElroy. “It makes sense to roll all these initiatives together and get on with providing the community with an asset for the future.”
The new facility is estimated to cost around $11m and will be funded from UCOL’s financial reserves.
McElroy says: “We are responding to the government’s challenge to deliver more skilled workers, needed not only for Canterbury but also to meet the growing housing shortage crisis in Auckland, the expected increased demand to repair leaky buildings and the loss of qualified tradespeople lured to Australia by higher pay packets. The Trades Academy is an exciting part of this new development.”