Showcasing manufacturing opportunities for Canterbury school leavers


11 May 2015

A new partnership, theCanterbury Manufacturing Pathways (CMP), between local employers, schools and training partners including Competenz aims to inspire Canterbury school leavers to consider a career in manufacturing and address the number one challenge local manufacturers face: attracting and building a skilled workforce. 

For young people coming through school, a career in manufacturing is not always an obvious choice. Many students and their teachers share popular misconceptions about the nature of modern manufacturing jobs and fail to understand the opportunities available.

The CMP programme is about changing this perception. Activities include student visits to manufacturing workplaces and an extended Gateway programme of industry placements. Visits by industry ‘ambassadors’ to schools and marketing collateral showcasing the opportunities available in the manufacturing sector play an important part too. Scholarships and paid internships are other options being investigated.

Competenz is taking an active part in this work. Our local account management team and national careers team are connecting students with employers. Two customers (EPL Group and Talbot Technologies) have helped set up the programme, and two schools offering Competenz-accredited learning (Hornby High School and Linwood College) are taking part. Christchurch-based Competenz Board Member Bryn Thompson is a member of the organising committee.

About the Manufacturing Gateway Programme

The Manufacturing Gateway Programme plays an important part in this work too. It builds on the successful Gateway programme in place across many secondary schools nationwide. The target audience is the same: Year 11 to 13 senior students with an aptitude in engineering. What sets this Gateway Programme apart is the involvement of local polytechnic, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT), and the focus on manufacturing.

Students on the Manufacturing Gateway Programme start with a five-week pre-trades block course at CPIT, based on the Level 2 requirements for the National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering. The course builds the basic skills and knowledge needed for a successful manufacturing career, including workplace safety, workplace practices, and using machinery in manufacturing environments.  

A ten-week placement with a local manufacturing firm follows, with structured workplace training one day a week and CPIT tutors providing workplace training assessments. If the student shows promise, there are opportunities for them to continue into further training, including an apprenticeship with Competenz.

More information:

  • Phillip Ridge at Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC),
  • The CMP is a partnership between the Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC),   the New Zealand Manufacturers’ & Exporters’ Association (NZMEA), Competenz, the Ministry of Education, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT), local schools and manufacturers.  
  • The manufacturing sector is Canterbury’s largest employer, with more than 34,000 full-time employees working in 15 sectors. Together these sectors generate $3.1 billion a year for the regional economy. 

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