How to make a successful pre-trades course for Pacific learners
A year-long Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) project to identify and evaluate the factors that contributed to the successful completion of pre-trades courses by Pacific learners.
The primary aim of the study was to evaluate the WelTec Pasifika Trades Training Initiative (PTTI) and its impact on successful student outcomes between 2012 and 2013. It aimed to highlight the specific initiatives that supported learner success and suggest initiatives for further development.
The project took a case study approach, using interviews with seven students and people from the students' wider community such as church ministers; WelTec staff from the academic, administrative, Pacific mentoring and employment faculties; as well as members of the WelTec Pacific Advisory Committee (PAC).
Rev Tavita Filemoni
Project LeaderWellington Institute of Technology (WelTec)
Dr John HorrocksWellington Institute of Technology (WelTec)
Dr Lisa WongWellington Institute of Technology (WelTec)
Seann PauriniWellington Institute of Technology (WelTec)
Arden PerrotWellington Institute of Technology (WelTec)
Findings related to the Pasifika Trades Training Initiative
- All learners in the study received fee-free scholarships in 2012 and 2013 under the Pasifika Trades Training Initiative (PTTI).
- A total of 106 Pacific learners were enrolled through the PTTI scholarship programme at WelTec in 2012 and 2013.
- Of this number, 82 learners or 77.4 percent successfully completed their qualifications.
- The success rate figure was in line with the overall performance of Pacific learners at WelTec across all programmes.
- However, the PTTI learners stood out because they weren't studying at the time they applied for the scholarships, so might have been expected to have more difficulty with learning.
- The learners' results showed the value of the fee-free model and other aspects of the PTTI approach such as the role of Pacific church ministers who nominated candidates for scholarships; who were involved in the early stages of course planning; and who provided pastoral care and support throughout the programme.
Findings on the factors that supported the student success
- Taking a whole-of-institution approach and community support was a success factor identified in the study. It included several important aspects, eg, initial recruitment and pastoral care by church ministers; student assistance from WelTec staff; and involvement of WelTec staff in overseeing work, checking on attendance, contacting families and supporting students to achieve.
- Challenging students to have a vision for their future was another success factor identified. This included encouraging students to develop a vision of where the course could take them during the recruitment phase.
- Readiness of participants to recognise they were learners was another success factor identified in the study.
- Assistance for students who lacked specific skills, particularly in literacy and numeracy was also important. The study found, in 2012, some students were struggling academically so, in response, WelTec embedded literacy and numeracy into the programme in 2013.
- Provide assistance to students on the path from study to work | Stronger study-to-work connections are required under the consortia approach, operating since the start of 2014.
- Develop formal relationships between tertiary providers and employers | There is a need for more formal relationships between WelTec and employers developed through initiatives such as memorandums of understanding.
- Collect data about work outcomes for Pacific students | Data is needed to identify if courses are preparing students for work or whether more needs to be done to support the transition from study to work.
- Adopt a Pacific strategy at WelTec | A strategy is required to place more decisions within long-term objectives, rather than being responses to pressures as they arise. [Note: this was put in place in July 2014].
- Clarify the role of church ministers | Church ministers proved an important success factor terms of the selection of scholarship candidates and student support. Could this be something to make better use of in the future?
- Carry out a policy review | A review of the policy is needed to place a maximum age limit of 34 years on students who receive scholarships.
The final report from the project, 'How to make a successful pre-trades course for Pacific learners', which gives the overview, literature review and findings.
- 9 December 2014