Plaster-boarders pile on praise for new CPIT facilities

Plaster-boarders pile on praise for new CPIT facilities

Alice McKellow-Hall is among the first 12 plaster-boarding students at CPIT to train in new facilities designed to make trades training more engaging and relevant.

"The new buildings are awesome," McKellow-Hall says. "The workshop is set up so that we can watch videos that show us things like how Gib board is made. Videos are a very handy tool."


Gone are the days of a one-hour theory session in a classroom. Instead students have frequent
15-minute theory sessions at worktables in the new workshop before diving into the practical application of what they have learnt.

The latest group of plaster-boarding students began their training this semester in a purpose-built workshop that is part of upgrades across the trades campus to improve students' learning experience. The upgrade includes facilities that replicate industry conditions, offer embedded technology, and drive innovative teaching delivery to integrate theory and practice.

And that suits both students and tutors just fine.

"The students love it," plaster-boarding tutor Ricky Hornsby says. "They need the knowledge but they would rather be practising their skills than sitting listening to a lecture. Now we use more technology and it's a much more effective way to teach trades. I've been plaster-boarding for 18 years but I really like the changes too!"

McKellow-Hall is back at CPIT this semester after completing her painting and decorating training last year. "The demand for both trades is ridiculous," she says.

Hornsby confirms that CPIT cannot train enough plaster-boarders to satisfy current industry demand. More and more women, like McKellow-Hall, are taking advantage of the well-paid and often flexible work that plaster-boarding offers. 

The new plaster-boarding facilities were a CPIT Trades team effort. Stools and desks were made on CPIT's CNC machine and assembled by trade's technician staff. He toki ki te Rika (Māori Trades Training) carpentry students built the workshop cubicles, and plaster-boarding students added internal walls and insulation to the north facing wall to protect the building from summer heat.

The government has supported expanding capacity and upgrading facilities at CPIT Trades, announcing $18.9m in funding at the end of 2013. The contribution is funding three new buildings, extensive refurbishment, new technology and professional development training for tutors. Further construction and refurbishment work at the Madras Street campus is being funded by the institute.

Industry support also goes a long way. Winstone recently donated 60 buckets of finishing plaster and 200 sheets of Aqualine Gib board.