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Minister of Education visits Otago Polytechnic’s Trades Training Centre site

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Otago Polytechnic hosted the Minister of Education, the Hon Chris Hipkins, on a visit today (Thursday 8 April) that included an inspection of the site for Otago Polytechnic’s multi-million-dollar Trades Training Centre.

Construction of the $31.7 million Trades Training Centre project, at the heart of Otago Polytechnic’s Forth St Campus, began in January.

Expected to be completed in October 2022, the Trades Training Centre was submitted by Otago Polytechnic in 2020 in response to the Government’s call to develop "shovel-ready" projects, aimed at stimulating and supporting economic activity in the city and region.

The project will employ around 200 tradespeople, as well as construction managers and consultants.

"Everything is going well and is on track," Tracey Howell, Otago Polytechnic Director Campus Environment, says of the construction work, which has largely comprised site work - including the excavation and removal of around 3,500 cubic metres of soil.

"The project is significant to both the local and national construction industry as major contractors seek to recover from the economic impacts of the COVID lockdown," Dr Megan Gibbons, Chief Executive Otago Polytechnic, says. "We see our role at Otago Polytechnic as two-fold in the coming years: as we contribute to vocational education in New Zealand, we also acknowledge we have a part to play in the economic recovery," Dr Gibbons says. Otago Polytechnic is experiencing strong domestic enrolments - an almost 20% increase on the corresponding time last year - resulting in the institution posting a more than $1 million surplus.

"The demand ranges across all of our areas, including various Construction programmes," Dr Gibbons says.

"As a major training provider for engineering and trade - regionally and nationally, Otago Polytechnic is well placed to increase places for more students, as well as be agile in what programmes we deliver to meet the needs in our community.

"At a time when young people and mature learners alike are looking for new career pathways with strong job opportunities, the Trade Training Centre will supply qualified tradespeople for industry that we know local employers, and the country as a whole, will need.

"Future projects in Otago and Dunedin alone include the new Hospital as well as major construction and infrastructure projects planned by the Dunedin City Council and University of Otago for the next 10 years. All these will require a significant increase in qualified tradespeople across the spectrum," Dr Gibbons says. "The Trades Training Centre will provide an outstanding learning environment, offering modern learning facilities including common learning spaces, to meet industry and more sophisticated learner demands."

Otago Polytechnic Ltd is a subsidiary of Te PÅ«kenga - a nationwide network of polytechnics and institutes of training.

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