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IPWEA NZ partnership to help address shortage of engineers

The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia  (IPWEA) NZ recently signed an MOU with Wellington Institute of Technology (Weltec) and Otago Polytechnic, in a partnership to support the delivery of a Degree Apprenticeship in Asset Management. The signing took place at IPWEA NZ’s NAMS Advancing Asset Management Forum in Wellington.

The engineering industry has endorsed the pilot degree apprenticeship programme in which apprentices are employed in the industry full-time while studying. It has been predicted that New Zealand will need to address a shortfall of around 5000 engineers in the next 10 years.

The Bachelor of Engineering Technology degree in Infrastructure Asset Management is co-designed by employers, polytechnics and institutes of technology. The pilot degree is being implemented by WelTec and Otago Polytechnic in partnership with IPWEA and will be launched in mid-2019.

James Mackay (WelTec) and Richard Nyhof (Otago Polytechnic) say they have had a very positive response from industry. “During our recent curriculum meeting with employers,” says James, “they were pushing to start the pilot six months earlier. We’re working through the implications of that.”

The pilot programme has not yet been formally advertised, but industry word of mouth is already resulting in much interest.

The new standard has been workshopped and converted from a taught degree to an apprentice degree. It was submitted to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority for approval in late October.

Over coming months, Richard and James will present to industry about the Infrastructure Asset Management standard and industry. “Demand from industry is very high,” says James, “partly because it’s a new kind of engineering degree and also because of the focus on asset management as there is a shortage of asset managers.”

This article was first published in the December 2018 issue of NZ Local Government Magazine.

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