Teach­ing old skills to new stu­dents

Marlborough Midweek - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - PAULA HULBURT

Stu­dents at a Marl­bor­ough cam­pus are be­ing taught cen­turies-old skills in a bid to en­tice more peo­ple to sign up.

Trades Academy stu­dents at the Nel­son Marl­bor­ough In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy (NMIT), in Blen­heim, are be­ing taught the an­cient art of boat build­ing.

Car­pen­try tu­tor Alan Barnes has been pass­ing on the ben­e­fit of his 20 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence as a pro­fes­sional boat builder.

He says he hopes the taster course will help net more stu­dents keen to fol­low suit, fol­low­ing a drop in num­bers over re­cent years.

‘‘It’s not just here in Marl­bor­ough but na­tion­wide, there’s a short­age of qual­i­fied trades peo­ple at a time when we need them most. align the skills needed in each area.

It is the first time the Blen­heim cam­pus has of­fered boat-build­ing in the pre-trades course.

Three pram dinghies made from ply­wood are grad­u­ally tak­ing shape as three teams of stu­dents build them by hand.

Once com­pleted

the 20-kilo­gram dinghies will be en­cased in fi­bre glass be­fore be­ing fit­ted with out­board mo­tors. The class will then get the chance to take them out on the wa­ter.

Alan says he has seen a ‘‘pos­i­tive change’’ in some of the stu­dents al­ready.

‘‘Within the first three weeks I saw a change. Those that were more timid are gain­ing more con­fi­dence and com­ing out of their shells a bit now,’’ he says.

Stu­dent Jessie Smith, one of three girls in the 16-strong class, says she loves the ‘‘hands-on’’ ap­proach.

‘‘I’ve never done any car­pen­try be­fore in my life and it’s great fun.

‘‘There’s a lot to learn but I’m re­ally en­joy­ing my­self.

‘‘Ev­ery­one works well to­gether and we have a good time. I re­ally like the fact that th­ese are skills I can use later on, no mat­ter what I de­cide to do.

‘‘I am es­pe­cially in­ter­ested in the au­to­mo­tive part as I love cars but the car­pen­try has been re­ally in­ter­est­ing,’’ she says.


Trades Academy stu­dent Jessie Smith likes that she will be able to use her car­pen­try skills later in life.

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