The next generation of trade training
The most recent Survey of Employers who have Recently Advertised (SERA report) completed by the Department of Labour shows an overall vacancy fill rate for trades workers of 48% - the lowest figure among the nine major occupational groups identified. The demand for skilled labour is far exceeding supply. An ageing population exacerbates the problem, with a high level of baby boomers expected to retire within the next five to ten years.
Consumers who have recently enlisted the services of a tradesperson will be all too aware of skill shortages in the industry and equally of the high salaries tradespeople are commanding. The SERA report reinforces the need to rebuild a training culture across New Zealand. Enhancing the overall skill levels in the New Zealand workforce today is the best insurance against further skills shortages emerging tomorrow.
With funding from the government, Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) has been able to make an investment in trade and technology facilities to address the critical skill shortages in this area.WelTec is leading the development of technology training with a new range of high-tech simulation equipment. This year, WelTec has introduced a highly sophisticated Autotronics Lab, Virtual Spray Painting Simulator and Virtual Welder.
WelTec has a strong reputation for trade training and is now at the forefront of a new generation of trade technology education. Since its inception, WelTec has offered a vast array of trades training, which to date includes; automotive, carpentry, electrical, painting and decorating, mechanical engineering, plumbing , horticulture, landscaping, and brick and block laying. WelTec offers the widest range of trade training in the Wellington Region, with programmes from pre-trade to advanced level and is the only provider for a number of programmes including motorcycle engineering, and brick and block laying in New Zealand.
While the subject offerings have largely remained unchanged, the delivery of trade programmes and the technology used is vastly different from what was offered in the last five years, let alone to what was offered by WelTec’s predecessor back in 1904.
The Autotronics Lab, with its fault simulation capabilities is one of a number of similar installations world-wide but is the only one of its kind in New Zealand. The facility has been purchased and installed by Degem (a specialist company from Israel) to provide a highly sophisticated approach to automotive diagnostics.
"The new Autotronics Lab, with a smart mix of computers, demonstrators and simulation panels, provides students with the advanced technical knowledge and experience needed to equip them for careers in today’s automotive industry” says Head of Centre for Industry and Trade Training, Alan Peck.
The new cutting edge lab is just one of these new investments now set up and ready for student and industry use. The new Virtual Spray Simulator, purchased from the United States, is also the only one of its kind in the country. Featuring a spray painting gun with high pressure/low volume options, a laptop with virtual software, a projector and screen - the benefits are two-fold, allowing students to learn how to spray paint more effectively and in a more environmentally friendly manner without typical paint wastage.
“This type of trade training technology is important for the development of new generation of trade professionals. Our facilities and indeed our corresponding programmes are of national significance in an ever-changing economy” says Mr Peck.