The new Kahukura building at Ara Institute of Canterbury, conceived as a teaching tool for engineering students, is ready just in time to host the Week of Engineering Expo in Christchurch on Saturday 5 August from 10am-4pm.
Coordinated by IPENZ as part of the national Week of Engineering, the Expo will bring in engineering professionals who can enjoy the innovative new engineering and architectural studies facility ahead of an official opening in August.
There is plenty to interest engineers, students and the public at the Expo. Kahukura is among a handful of buildings in Christchurch to utilise local, sustainable timber technology with Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) as the structural frame and Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) as the structure of the facade. Timber dominates throughout the building, with concrete and steel playing secondary roles. The building is seismically strong and actually stores carbon through the use of wood.
The Expo will be a chance for the public to check out Kahukura. During the day there will be free screenings of the film Dream Big - Engineering Our World, narrated by Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges. The film spans the range of engineering from the Great Wall of China and the world’s tallest buildings, to underwater robots, solar cars and smart, sustainable cities.The day is all about inspiring the next generation of engineers. Exhibiting organisations from around Christchurch will bring their best technology to the expo to engage secondary school students in the wide world of engineering.
Exhibitors include Beca, Structex, Stantec, BVT Consulting, Fonterra, BVT Consulting, Fonterra, University of Canterbury - College of Engineering, TDG, Harrison Grierson, Opus, Engineers without Borders, Caterpillar Trimble Control Technologies and Orion.
During the preceding Week of Engineering, a programme of events at partner organisations will further inspire and educate students. New Zealand needs more engineers, and in response the Government has set a goal of increasing engineering graduates by 500 per year. In particular the country needs to almost double the number of graduates with a New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (Level 6) or a Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Level 7) - both of which are offered at Ara.
Ara will run the Quake Craft challenge in the Vodafone Building on 1 and 2 August. Based on the institute’s excellent school holiday STEM workshops, the Quakecraft challenge is to design and prototype a sustainable tiny house for extreme conditions and natural disasters using maths, physics and engineering. Using 3D printing and computer aided design students work in teams to design a model house and test its structural integrity on a shake table.
For students, the $34m, 6500m2 Kahukura offers a blend of purpose designed and flexible learning areas - and even a cafe. The exhibition space on the ground floor was envisaged for hosting events such as the Engineering Expo.
Wintec and Waikato District Council will launch a cadetship programme next year that will create employment opportunities for civil engineering students and ensure the council has a highly skilled and qualified workforce.
The cadetship scheme is an opportunity for Wintec students studying the civil elements of the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering and the Bachelor of Engineering Technology. Under the scheme, students will work and study part-time for two years before completing one year of bonded employment with Waikato District Council.
Wintec Chief Executive Mark Flowers says the scheme is a great example of Wintec working with industry partners to deliver real-world training for students and highly qualified graduates to employers.
“I really commend Waikato District Council for driving this initiative – it’s a win win for all. For our students it’s a great opportunity to study and work in a real-world environment and get the benefits of having employment in their chosen career path.
“We’re training students for a rapidly changing world and the practical and soft skills they learn through on the job training are critical for their success. Working with industry also means we continue to be relevant and authentic in what we deliver to meet their needs.”
Waikato District Council will recruit cadets from Wintec year one and two students this year to launch the scheme for the 2018 study year. The aim is to have up to six civil engineering student placements with Waikato District Council by year three.
“We’re delighted to work with Wintec on this scheme and we regard this as an effective recruitment tool,” says Waikato District Council’s General Manager Service Delivery Tim Harty.“The council is considered to be a perfect training ground for students to develop a range of skills, knowledge and technical experience. The cadetship will provide real-life practical experiences as well as the opportunity to be immersed in a range of areas relevant to the cadet’s specific area of study.”
Wintec is also working with other industry partners to secure similar cadetships for its students.
Otago Polytechnic is investing in Central Otago’s educational future with a new Trades Hub and student accommodation for its Central campus.
Construction will begin once consents are obtained on the new 600 square metre trades building at Bannockburn Road. It will house Automotive and Carpentry programmes, classrooms, offices and a common room. There will also be a platform for the construction of a four-bedroom house that the students will build. This is stage one of the proposed campus redevelopment project, which is a move from the current location to a new facility on Otago Polytechnic’s Bannockburn Road site.
Head of Central Otago Campus, Alex Huffadine, says the polytechnic is very excited about bringing a Trades Hub to Central Otago.
“There’s a real skills shortage in the trades industry. By offering trades-based training here at Central campus, we really hope to solve that problem with well qualified graduates and, at the same time, help our students into a fantastic career,” he says.
He adds that Otago Polytechnic’s two new trades qualifications (the New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Level 3) (Carpentry) and the New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering (Level 3)) will both be taught from the Trades Hub which is expected to be finished by the end of term one in 2018.
With a shortage of accommodation in Cromwell, Otago Polytechnic has also committed to building self-contained student accommodation at its Molyneux Avenue site. Stage one of the accommodation will include four houses with up to five bedrooms per house.
Mr Huffadine says accommodation is an important part of Otago Polytechnic’s growth in the region.
“We hope accommodation onsite removes the barrier of rental shortages in Cromwell. This offers a safe and easy option for our students.”
The first phase of student accommodation will be available for students studying in 2018.
The construction of both builds is currently out for tender.
A record number of Kiwis are looking to the trades to build a career but this is still not enough to meet industry demand.
For the first time in the organisation’s history, the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation has 11,000 apprentices actively working towards a qualification.
This is a fantastic milestone but we still need thousands more apprentices in training each year to meet demand,” says BCITO Chief Executive Warwick Quinn.
“New Zealand is in the midst of a skills shortage,” says Quinn. New Zealand’s construction and building sector desperately needs more recruits. It needs 65,000 new people over the next five years to meet new growth and replace people who leave.
There has never been a better time to consider a career in construction, says Quinn.
“We expect this current pressure to continue into the 2020s. Forecasts for the next few years provide confidence for people considering a career in the construction industry and for business owners thinking about expanding their business and taking on more staff.”
The 11,000th apprentice, Aucklander and father of three Daniel Poe, says the trades offer him fantastic career opportunities and job security.
"Building is the family trade," says Daniel. “My father was a builder, I used to tag along with him on jobs. He taught me a lot and was really supportive when I decided to start an apprenticeship.”
Daniel who completed his schooling in Samoa before moving to Auckland, says it is never too late to begin an apprenticeship and is looking forward to gaining his qualification and taking the next step in his career.
“I’m looking forward to becoming a foreman, stepping up and taking the lead on projects. One day I would like to own a business in New Zealand and also find a way to give back to the community in Samoa and the Islands.”
Daniel is employed by FreeStyla Constructors in Auckland which employs about 100 people. His employer Michael Patton says taking on apprentices benefits both sides. “By training my staff I help them to get better at their jobs, earn more money and expand their opportunities. As an employer, training is essential to make my workforce grow.”
“The current environment is hectic and is only going to become more so,” says Michael. “There is a definite shortage of skilled workers in New Zealand so the more people we encourage to join the trades the better.”
BCITO has organised a range of nationwide initiatives in recent months to demonstrate the value of apprenticeships in the building and construction industry. These have included the Not Your Average Tradie Road Trip, their annual Big Construction Tour and the Build-Ability Challenge which is currently underway at secondary schools across New Zealand.
A presentation will be held in Auckland on Wednesday 12 July to mark this milestone.
The Government is investing $170,000 in a Canterbury initiative that connects secondary students with businesses who can transition them into further education, employment or training.
The funding will also extend Christchurch’s Educated Job Ready Programme to Timaru.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley announced the funding in Christchurch today at the launch of the Canterbury Regional Economic Development Strategy refresh.
“While Canterbury has New Zealand’s lowest regional unemployment rate, skills shortages pose a significant risk to high-value production across all districts in the region,” Mr Bridges says.
“Canterbury needs to keep its young people and ensure they have the knowledge and skills to get productive work in their region, both now and in the future. The region also needs to retain and retrain older workers and attract more people into the workforce.”
The Ministry of Social Development is working closely with other Canterbury agencies to support regional development and has a particular focus on young people who need additional support to play their part in the future workforce.
“By helping secondary schools and training institutions partner up with businesses we can support more young people into training and employment. This benefits them as well as the wider Canterbury community,” Mrs Tolley says.
“Our aim is to reduce the number of young people in Canterbury who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) so it remains less than the national NEET rate by June 2019.”
Due to the rebuild, Canterbury has a higher proportion of its workforce involved in construction than in New Zealand overall. The regional economic development initiatives will help the regional economy to keep growing after the earthquake recovery ceases to drive economic activity and employment.
The Engineering e2e programme achieving its goal of 500+ engineering graduates per year by 2017 a year early will be welcome news for industry, says Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Paul Goldsmith.
“It’s very pleasing to see all the hard work by Engineering e2e, Futureintech, tertiary institutions, engineering professional organisations and others has really paid off,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has confirmed 511 graduates from priority engineering courses in 2016, a full year ahead of schedule, for a total of 2,151 graduates in 2016. Set up by the Government in 2014, the Engineering – Education to Employment (e2e) initiative promotes engineering as a career to students.
“Engineering e2e’s successful public awareness campaign has already lifted the profile of engineering from 10th to 3rd place in potential student’s career considerations.
“More than 500 additional graduates each year is a step in the right direction though we still have quite a bit of work to do to address the balance of graduates across Diploma of Engineering (Level 6), Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Level 7) and Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) (Level 8) qualifications.
“Our big challenge, supported by employer feedback, is growing enrolments at institutes of technology, which specialise in level 6 and 7 qualifications,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“So I am pleased to see Engineering e2e is working closely with the ITP sector, and with engineering professional bodies to really focus on employer engagement to grow the pipeline of work-ready engineers.”
Engineering e2e has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) and IPWEA is collaborating with e2e on its sponsored degrees pilot programme which is being funded by the TEC.
Sponsored degrees would enable both on-the-job training and the completion of a Level 7 qualification in engineering, like the Bachelor of Engineering (Technology), and are particularly relevant for rapidly changing, high-tech industries.
“Engineers help build the infrastructure that makes up our modern world. New Zealand needs more engineers to meet the growing demand for construction and infrastructure, and this Government is focussed on meeting those challenges into the future,” says Mr Goldsmith.
Most New Zealanders are still confident their jobs will be safe from advances in technology over the next decade, according to the latest findings of an ongoing research project into attitudes around the future of work.
Dr David Brougham from the Massey Business School and Professor Jarrod Haar from AUT surveyed 500 New Zealand employees earlier this year and found that 80 per cent of participants did not think their job could be automated.
The results did not deviate significantly from data collected in 2015 and 2016, despite extensive media coverage of the issue over that time.
Dr Brougham will discuss his research findings at Massey University’s Big Issues in Business seminar series, ‘Robots vs Humans – the future of work’, which will take place in Auckland, Wellington and Palmerston North in June.
He says there is an “interesting cognitive bias” going on when you look at the gap between the number of New Zealanders who are aware of the potential threat of automation and the number who think it will affect them personally.
“We found that half of the people we surveyed had seen media coverage of the issue and only seven per cent said they think that technology will lead to an overall decrease in the number of jobs. Yet only 20 per cent felt that their own job would be affected.”
View technology as workplace competition
Dr Brougham says New Zealanders are aware that smart technology, artificial intelligence, automation, robotics and algorithms will change many of today’s jobs – 50 per cent had seen the issue covered in the media – but the majority remained unconcerned.
“Seventy-one per cent of our survey participants said they don’t discuss these issues with their work colleagues and 79 per cent have not actively researched how technology might affect their job in the future.
“Cognitive bias can play a role here, but it is also very hard to predict the future and make plans around something that ‘may not’ happen. And while the full automation of your job may be unlikely, several parts of the job might be, so it’s hard for employees to know how that will impact on their employment situation.”
Dr Brougham says that while the impact of technology on the future of work cannot really be known, there is no doubt that many of today’s jobs will either disappear or develop into something quite different.
“The key message is that looking at the developing technology in your line of work as a potential competitor is going to become a factor when planning your career and considering future training opportunities,” he says.
Big Issues in Business – event details
Dr Brougham will be joined at the Big Issues in Business ‘Robots vs Humans – the future of work’ events by Flow Software chief executive Chipp Dawson and Glenn Andert, head of enterprise innovation at Creative HQ.
These industry and academic experts will discuss the likely in-demand skills in an automated workforce, what individuals can do to future-proof their careers and how businesses can transform to remain relevant.
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Louise Upston has welcomed the passing of the Education (Update) Amendment Bill today.
The Education Act has been updated to streamline the way government careers services and information are provided. As a result of a Government review of the careers system, Careers New Zealand is being disestablished and staff and functions will transfer to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) on 1 July 2017.
“This is a positive step towards an improved careers system that will strengthen connections between education and employers, reduce fragmentation and duplication across government agencies and make pathways into further study and work clearer,” Ms Upston says.
“A refocused careers service within the TEC will make use of the commission’s ability to work with tertiary providers and employers so they co-ordinate with schools on the skill needs of the labour market.
“Students and their families can expect to have access to better and more consistent careers services and information as well as a continually expanding and improving suite of online tools,” Ms Upston says.
Employers will benefit from stronger connections with schools and tertiary providers and a more direct link to the skills pipeline, and careers education that links teaching and learning to the application of skills, knowledge and competencies in the labour market.
Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith has today announced the winners of New Zealand’s most valuable and prestigious annual science awards, the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes.
“The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes celebrate scientific achievement, highlight the impact science has on New Zealanders’ lives, and aim to attract more young people into science careers,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“The awards were introduced to raise the profile and prestige of science careers and previous winners have become excellent ambassadors for science here in New Zealand and overseas.
“A prominent part of the Government’s science strategy is encouraging more engagement with science and technology among our young people and the wider community.
“The awards are a key part of the Curious Minds work programme - a national strategic plan for science in society launched in 2014 to help all New Zealanders engage with science and technology.
“The award recipients are role models, educators and communicators, who all play a part in inspiring others to become involved with science, I want to congratulate all of them on their awards, and for their commitment to promoting science,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The prizes were presented by Prime Minister Bill English at a ceremony at Parliament today:
The Prime Minister’s Science Prize ($500,000) – The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, led by Professor Richie Poulton (University of Otago).
The Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize ($200,000) – Professor Brendon Bradley for his work in Civil and Natural Resources Engineering (University of Canterbury).
The Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize ($150,000) – Diana Christenson (Koraunui Primary School, Lower Hutt).
The Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize ($100,000) – Rebecca Priestley (Victoria University of Wellington).
The Prime Minister’s Future Scientist Prize ($50,000) – Catherine Pot (Onslow College, Wellington).
Finance Minister Steven Joyce, and Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith have welcomed the release of the Productivity Commission’s report New models of tertiary education.
“We would like to acknowledge the Commission’s time and effort in considering this issue, and the wide engagement of the tertiary sector in the inquiry,” Mr Joyce says.
“We share the Commission’s commitment to further improving the way that tertiary education delivers relevant skills for New Zealanders, and will review the recommendations and opportunities identified in the report.”
“The Government will carefully consider the Commission’s recommendations over the coming months. We have work underway on some of the matters raised such as improving the accessibility of information for prospective students,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The Commission’s report is wide-ranging, and makes 49 recommendations. These focus on:
Improving information and its use across the tertiary education system,
Improving regulatory settings, particularly around quality assurance,
Reforming how Government purchases tertiary education,
Ensuring the “system architecture” supports clear roles, accountabilities, and expectations to drive better, and more innovative, tertiary education performance.
“The Government will keep an open mind on all of the recommendations, with the exception of the Commission’s view that interest should be reintroduced on new student loan borrowing.
“The Government is committed to retaining interest-free student loans for borrowers residing in New Zealand,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“We do not want to see young people starting their working lives with unmanageable debt. We know that for those who stay in New Zealand after graduating, half will have repaid their loan in under six and a half years.”
“Tertiary education provides students with the skills and qualifications to get good jobs and good incomes, contribute to the country’s economy, and be part of an innovative and successful New Zealand,” Mr Joyce says.
The Government will respond formally to the Productivity Commission’s recommendations in due course. The report will be tabled in Parliament at 9am today, and can be found on the Commission’s website www.productivity.govt.nz.