Two promising UCOL third-year students have won building services scholarships with the Palmerston North City Council.
The scholarships were awarded to Rochelle Andrew who is studying for the NZ Diploma of Architectural Technology, and Joshua Borger who is completing the NZ Diploma in Construction (Quantity Surveying) at a ceremony at the Palmerston North Convention Centre Gallery recently.
The scholarships have been bestowed for the first time this year. They are awarded to outstanding level 6 students in the New Zealand Diploma in Architectural Technology, or the New Zealand Diploma in Construction.
The cadet scholarships are a joint initiative between the council and UCOL established under a Memorandum of Understanding.
Palmerston North City Council customer services general manager Peter Eathorne says the aim for the council is to train future building inspectors.
“We want to encourage young people to get into the industry as there are plenty of opportunities for those who are keen, have a technical understanding and an eye for detail.
”We need to help arrest a growing shortage of building inspectors nationwide. The workforce is aging and we are struggling to replace experienced people as they retire.
“This shortage is compounded by the sheer volume of inspections required for vital work, like checks on whether buildings meet earthquake strengthening standards.”
“This means we need to grow our own talent in Palmerston North and the Manawatu District in order to meet our future needs.”
Mr Eathorne says the level of time and money the council is investing in the scholarships reflects the strength of its relationship with UCOL.
“From a UCOL perspective, having tangible support from the council for our students demonstrates the proactive nature of our region.”
UCOL Head of School, Construction and Engineering Danny Reilly says the cadet scholarships are a real opportunity for students.
“UCOL is totally behind supporting students into careers and getting that very important work experience as they learn,” Mr Reilly says.
“We will work closely with the council to make sure the cadets are progressing and developing their skills.”
Under the scholarship scheme, the cadets each receive 30 hours paid on-the-job training per week while they complete their studies.
PNCC Head of Building Services Leigh Sage says the cadets will work on projects in Palmerston North and the Manawatu District over the next two years.
“This is a chance for young people to earn as they learn. They’ll be buddying up with our experienced building officers who can pass on their knowledge. It is a win-win.”
Palmerston North mayor Grant Smith says the scholarships are an investment in local talent.
“We train thousands of students each year through our excellent tertiary institutions. An initiative like this allows us to retain these important building industry skills in the region.”