Engineered for success – expansion of innovative engineering youth training programme

Published: 11 August, 2021

Tagged with:

  • News and announcements
  • Southland/Murihiku
  • Otago

An innovative Provincial Growth Fund-backed youth training programme in South Otago is already proving so successful that it's being rolled out across the lower South Island.

A group of students in high-vis gear are observing engineering work in a warehouse setting.

Students from SOREC Academy in South Otago

The Southland and Otago Regional Engineering Collective (SOREC) Engineering Academy started in January 2021 to help South Otago High School students learn engineering skills through hands on experience.

The training provides students with the opportunity to see how businesses operate, gain skills by working on supervised engineering projects and achieve educational goals. 

By the time students have completed the programme, they are able to embark on careers with local engineering and manufacturing businesses. 

The pilot programme was developed by SOREC, the Ministry of Education, school representatives and local engineering businesses.

The Provincial Growth Fund provided a grant of $495,000 to cover SOREC’s overheads and operational costs, with another $5,000 grant to help SOREC engineering students buy personal protective equipment and gear for their training.

The programme is proving so successful that the decision has been made to roll it out more widely and extend the intake across the lower South Island.

Initially, the programme expansion will be in Dunedin and Invercargill but other lower South Island sites are also being considered.

The programme is part of efforts to grow the Otago and Southland regions’ manufacturing and engineering sector, including training a skilled workforce to address concerns about the shortage of potential job applicants.

As part of its wider support for the engineering sector, the Provincial Growth Fund has also supported 34 Otago-Southland engineering and manufacturing businesses with $6.9 million in grants.

This funding will allow these firms to upgrade to more productive and efficient machinery in order to meet growing demand.