Secondary school students who have completed U-Skills Academy programmes will be celebrated at a series of awards evenings throughout October.
U-Skills Academy programmes provide year 11 to 13 students the opportunity to attend UCOL (or a UCOL-approved site) one day per week to develop industry-relevant skills, while also earning NCEA credits.
The programmes range from trades to hospitality to business, and introduce students to subjects they can study fulltime at UCOL.
Over 500 students have completed U-Skills Academy programmes across the Manawatū, Wairarapa, Horowhenua, and Whanganui this year.
Throughout their programmes, students set themselves goals and worked on various projects. For example, Business Enterprise students developed products and services that they sold at a market day, while Cookery and Café Skills students competed in hospitality competitions.
The U-Skills Academy programmes have seen tremendous growth since they began in 2012, when 81 students were enrolled.
UCOL Schools Partnership Manager Hayden Robinson says buy-in from secondary schools across UCOL's regions has played a big part in the U-Skills Academy's success.
"The schools have shown great support for the U-Skills Academy over the years, and treat it as an extension of what they offer in their classrooms. It's about providing students with a range of options that appeal to their interests and career aspirations."
Robinson says U-Skills students not only develop vocational skills and knowledge, but also gain skills that they can apply no matter what they do in life.
"U-Skills is about personal growth as much as it is about learning vocational skills. Students learn about self-management, working as a team, and solving problems. I'm always really proud when I see students grow in self-confidence and step out of their comfort zone to try new things."
All students will receive a Certificate of Attendance at the awards evenings. There will also be special awards for Outstanding Student, Improvement, and Dedication for each region.
Manawatū U-Skills Academy Awards Night
Tuesday October 15, 5.30pm – 7.30pm
Palmerston North Convention Centre
Wairarapa U-Skills Academy Awards Night
Thursday October 17, 5.30pm – 7.00pm
Wairarapa College School Hall
Whanganui U-Skills Academy Awards Night
Tuesday October 22nd 5.30pm – 7.30pm
Central Baptist Church
Horowhenua U-Skills Academy Awards Night
Tuesday October 29th 6.00pm – 7.00pm
UCOL Horowhenua Campus
Photo: Students receive their certificates at the 2018 UCOL Whanganui U-Skills Academy Awards