Technology class well-equipped in CAD at Waimea College


13 October 2015

The Computer Aided Design (CAD) course is teaching Waimea College students in Richmond the basics in design and technical drawings, and preparing them for a career in engineering. At the helm of the programme is technology teacher Kevin Thwaites. Successfully running CAD classes at Waimea College for almost three years, Kevin is now teaching teachers throughout the country in CAD.

“I got permission from the school’s management to create my own CAD course. The course allows students to develop an entry level understanding in a mechanical engineering package,” Kevin says.

“I’ve always felt that the software was very good. To find out whether it would be beneficial for students, I went out to local engineering firms and they all said the software was an important tool. It gives students an understanding of how drawings are produced and made.”

In this digital world, the CAD course was essential to upskilling students in drawing systems for engineering.

“Everything is electronic these days; everything is digital,” Kevin says.

“We’re now offering a full-year course in level 2 and level 3 in Competenz standards and technology standards.”

Around 22 students are currently doing the CAD course as part of the technology department.

“One group of students are seeking trade qualifications to go on and do their apprenticeships. This group’s work is assessed using the Competenz standards.”

Kevin says CAD is a ‘powerful design tool’, allowing students to develop and explore their own design ideas.

“It enables students to produce drawings in a formal way and with great detail. It also integrates with 3D printing.”

Teachers from around the country are interested in running their own CAD courses.

“I’ve given a couple of talks to teachers at the annual teacher meetings hosted by Competenz. Out of those meetings I got enquiries from teachers around the country wanting to run CAD courses,” he says.

“I cleared the course with Cadpro Systems Ltd who owns the software. Late last year, Cadpro made the software free for schools and students. That generated more interest in it. The idea was I would come to a gathering of around 10 teachers and teach them the course over three days. I did one of these courses locally and it went really well. I’m currently handling enquiries from the Wellington and Waikato areas.”

HOD Materials Technology & Design and Visual Communication Darren Richardson says CAD gives students an advantage when they go into the workforce.

“The course enriches other studies the students are doing, particularly in the engineering and design space,” Darren says.

“Local companies have been very supportive of us with this course because it’s an advantage for students moving into an apprenticeship to have those skills. It’s more likely to put them on the shortlist when applying for a job. It’s also been great for not only our senior students, but our Year 10 students who are using it for their technology projects.”

Kevin believes the current curriculum needs be more aligned with the needs of industry.

“CAD makes students efficient in design. There’s a wonderful opportunity to upskill this generation and get something off the ground that’s very beneficial to them.”

If you would like more information on the CAD course please contact Kevin on 021 043 0116.

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