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Schools Celebrate Vocational Excellence Award Winners


“This award recognises outstanding students enrolled in vocational programmes who have shown they have what it takes to develop the skills, knowledge and attributes they need to perform a specific role and build a career in an industry,” says Careers and Transition Education Association (CATE) Executive Member for Taranaki, Warwick Foy.

Introduced in 2019, the Prime Minister’s Award for Vocational Excellence, and the $2,000 monetary prize, can be awarded to the top Year 12 or 13 secondary student enrolled in vocational programmes of learning. One student is eligible per school or wharekura.

“University is a great pathway for some but not all. Traditionally, our school prizegivings have focused on academic students with a university pathway. Schools are becoming more inclusive acknowledging that those who choose other pathways can also be highly skilled and capable. This award brings some esteem and recognition to these students. After all, there is honour in all work.” says Foy.

Taranaki region

Taranaki schools around the maunga acknowledge this year’s recipients of the Prime Minister’s Award for Vocational Excellence.

Taranaki is the only region that collectively recognises award winners. Foy hopes that other regions will follow suit.

Patea Area School

Matthew Dixon has been participating in Gateway for the past two years, working at a local Engineering company, where he gained the praise and commendation of his employers. Matthew is a talented and focused young man who will continue to strive to advance himself and achieve his goals.  In 2023, Matthew aims to attend the Auckland University of Technology or WITT/Te Kupenga studying for a Bachelor of Technology, in Engineering.

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Hawera High School

Ben Savage was an exceptional kitchen joinery Gateway student. He has been offered an apprenticeship by his employer, Hawera Kitchens.

Opunake High School

Kyla Coleman has been an outstanding student in Gateway for the past two years, displaying a hardworking and positive attitude in all that she does.

She has completed the Level 2 and Level 3 Trades Academy Agriculture courses at WITT/Te Pukenga and is studying Agriculture at Massey University in 2023.

Coastal Taranaki School

Aliya Fever has demonstrated a keen and determined interest in the Primary industry sector. She has chosen subjects to support this pathway and has participated successfully in a Trades Academy programme in Agriculture, NCEA level 2 and 3 over the past 2 years.

Aliya is an able student who has demonstrated a potential to succeed and reach goals by submitting evidence of her learning of a high standard.

In 2022 Aliya went on to successfully complete a Level 3 programme involving cattle anatomy and physiology, handling and moving livestock, installing and maintaining fencing, and managing risks around the rural workplace.

Aliya intends to continue to follow her passion in the Primary sector by enrolling in full-time at WITT/Te Kupenga in 2023

Stratford High School

Not awarded this year

Taranaki Diocesan School

Paige Baldock has always had a passion for the outdoors and for her horses especially.

This year Paige has connected with the Primary ITO and has been studying both Agriculture and Equine Studies.

She is an exemplary student who manages the challenges of learning offsite for two days a week with her academic in-class studies.

Paige’s aspiration for the future is a career working with horses – especially in the handling area.

Inglewood High School

Sydney Fisher has a passion for the culinary arts and has been both a WITT/Te Kupenga Trades Academy and 3+2 Cookery student, completing her NZ Certificate in Cookery Level 3 this year. A school Student Leader, Sydney also received the award for Inglewood High School’s best all-round student in Year 13 Food Technology.

Sydney is a talented painter and chef and she aspires to one day own her own business. In 2023, her intention is to gain more hands-on experience and begin study towards a qualification in Hospitality Management at the Queenstown Resort College.

Waitara High School

Ani Butler is a Year 12 student. During Term 3, Ani attended a work experience placement at Taranaki Electrical Services and has worked alongside their team, assisting them with electrical jobs on site and having a turn at working with the tools of the trade. She completed the Trades Academy Electrical (Level 2) course at WITT/Te Kupenga.

Ani comes from a talented and hardworking group of siblings and is the second in her family to achieve the Prime Minister’s Vocational Excellence Award.

She has made a real impression at her work experience placement, fitting in with the Taranaki Electrical Services team brilliantly and assisting with anything that needed to be done. She is proactive, efficient and willing to give everything a go.

Ani is hoping to gain an apprenticeship in the electrical industry at the end of her school year.

Spotswood College

Journey Tutaki is a very deserved winner of the prestigious award after three years of dedicated and carefully planned career-based study.  

In 2020, Journey was awarded the Most Improved Automotive Trades Academy student. This achievement further ignited his passion and from here he set himself clear goals to pursue a pathway in the automotive industry. 

He has completed two MITO micro-credentials over the past two years, finishing both the Level 2 Ignition and Level 3 Accelerate programs. Obtaining these qualifications was supported by his practical Gateway placement at MIDAS, New Plymouth. 

Journey has shown a fantastic attitude to make the most of the opportunities afforded to him and we are all very proud of his growth, development and achievement.  

Sacred Heart Girls’ College

Ella Clement is a fabulous Sacred Heart wāhine toa. She is involved in many activities and pursuits and she excels at all of them. In Pathways, Ella has been a Gateway student, a Trades Academy student and an E2E (Engineering) student. In terms of vocational education, she has taken advantage of all the opportunities and had a comprehensive and successful experience.

For Gateway, Ella completed a placement at Whittaker Civil. She was primarily involved with constructing penguin access tunnels at Port Taranaki.

Ella has had a focus on the Defence Forces where she has recently been selected for Officer training as an engineer. This is a rare and outstanding achievement making Ella a truly deserving winner for 2022.

Francis Douglas Memorial College

The 2022 Prime Minister’s Vocational Excellence Award was awarded to Lenny Chapman.  Lenny gained this through the Francis Douglas Memorial College Career Pathway Programme.  Lenny’s motivation, work ethic and attitude at his work experience placements is a real credit to him.

He demonstrates all the skills and attributes that are needed to enable him to succeed in the workplace.  He is courteous, reliable and is what we refer to as ‘a good college man’. Lenny gained a building apprenticeship with LA Homes.

New Plymouth Girls’ High School

Emily Lord has a dream of graduating from NPGHS in 2022 so she can pursue her lifetime passion of a career in aviation. She has completed her Private Pilot Licence in her Trades class.

 A quote from her flight instructor James Finlayson:

“Emily has completed all 6 examinations required for a Private Pilot Licence. She has shown that she is a dedicated, studious, and intelligent young lady who has a goal of being a professional pilot, which I am sure she will achieve.”

New Plymouth Boys’ High School

Sean Robinson is an outstanding young man with an incredibly bright future in the building industry.  He worked with Manor Build as part of our Gateway Programme and immediately impressed with his work ethic and initiative.  At the completion of the placement, they offered him part-time work and now that school has finished he continues to “clock up the hours” with them.  Sean is seeking a building apprenticeship for 2023.

Spotswood College, Taranaki Vocational Pathways Awards Winners

At the recent Spotswood College senior prize giving we also presented our Vocational Pathways 2022 recipients with their special awards.

The award winners have done a magnificent job of representing themselves, our department, the Gateway program and the award sponsors.

We congratulate them for their efforts, work ethic and the positive attitude they have shown to make the most of the fantastic opportunities afforded to them.

The award winners for 2022 were:

Year 12 Gateway student of the year: Harry Davies

Year 13 Gateway student of the year: Justin Goundar

Beverley McLean Gateway Award : Luanei Ikitau

Anne Wilson Entrepreneur Award: Chai Ruakere-Forbes

Hislop Family Trophy: Blake Lusk

Vocational Award & Gateway Winners from other regions of New Zealand

Roncalli College, Timaru

Lachlan McCambridge, First in Year 13 Gateway Roncalli College. Congratulations, Lachlan. Congratulations to Roncalli College Prime Minister’s Vocational Excellence Award winner 2022, Kayla Heyns.

Middleton Grange School, Christchurch

Prime Minister’s Vocational Excellence Award Winner – Zoe Roentgen

Zoe would like to become a nurse practitioner by studying a Master of Health Science at University of Canterbury – Professional Practice conjoint with a Bachelor of Nursing from Ara. Following this she would like to pursue a Master of Nursing and eventually open her own clinic where she can provide healthcare to the wider community.

This year she achieved 29 Level 3 credits in the Health Gateway Programme, which is in the Social and Community Services Vocational Pathway. As well as this, she has earned 26 Excellence credits at NCEA Level 3 so far and completed a First Aid course. In her part-time place of work, Elm’s Court Village, Zoe has completed Health and Safety courses, and has learnt the importance of caring for the patients’ physical and emotional health and hygiene. She has volunteered as the Diversional Therapist’s Assistant at Elm’s Court and as a Passion Kid’s Leader at Grace Vineyard Church. At school Zoe has run an Arts and Crafts Club for Year 7s and has been an International Leader, creating a positive and welcoming environment for international students.

Zoe strives for excellence, uses her gifts and abilities to help others and always self-motivated and communicative. Congratulations to you, Zoe for receiving the Prime Minister’s Vocational Excellence Award which comes with $2000 for your tertiary studies.

Zoe Roentgen

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