Press Release – Otago Polytechnic
Free Fees Initiative Aims to Encourage More Trades Training
For immediate release, Friday 31 May 2013
The government’s call for more trained tradespeople is behind Otago Polytechnic’s move to offer free tuition fees for this semester, as it attempts to draw more people into these careers.
In the initiative, students beginning their studies this semester in selected “priority trades” programmes will not have to pay any tuition fees for up to one year.
The incentive applies to programmes in carpentry, plasterboard stopping, painting, masonry trades, automotive, electrical and mechanical engineering, as well as generic and kaupapa-based programmes that provide a taste of a range of trades areas. A materials fee and course-related costs will apply.
The move is backed by members of Dunedin’s engineering and construction industries and the Dunedin City Council, all eager to remind people that the country needs more people with strong trades skills.
Otago Polytechnic Director of Communications Mike Waddell comments that despite well publicised shortages of qualified people in these areas, and the huge anticipated demand for these skills in the future, “for whatever reason, people are not yet responding to this opportunity”.
“We are being asked by the government to train more people, and are being funded to do this – but there are not enough people wanting to be trained.”
Waddell says that offering free tuition frees is a chance for those considering studying in these areas to have one more reason to do so.
With programmes ranging from between 16 weeks and one year, “It’s a great investment of your time,” Waddell says. “Trades qualifications are versatile, portable and can set you up for life, whether working for yourself or others. And whatever life may bring, no one ever regrets developing great practical skills.”