Youth gateway programme opens doors for young people

News News & events

24 Sep 2015

An initiative to create a future manufacturing workforce by creating career pathways into the sector for secondary school students, is set to begin in term one at CPIT next year.

The Youth Gateway Manufacturing programme is a collaboration between CPIT, secondary schools, Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC), Competenz and the New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association (NZMEA). It builds on the government's Youth Guarantee initiative, to encourage secondary-school-aged students into tertiary education and to introduce them to the workplace. 

The gateway programme also addresseda need to provide new workers in the manufacturing sector to replace a retiring population, Canterbury Development Corporation's high value-added manufacturing sector leader Phillip Ridge said.

"About 25 per cent of the sector's workforce will retire in the next 10 years, which makes now the ideal time for young people to enter the sector," he said.

However, there was a misconception that involvement in manufacturing led to limited job prospects and lower-paid jobs, which he hoped employment statistics would dispel. Some high-end manufacturing jobs attracted medium to high salaries, he said.  For instance, a CAD designer working in computer-aided manufacturing would earn $50-$95,000 and an engineer specialising in manufacturing processes could earn $78-$120,000 plus, he said

"Whether you go through a trades route as an apprentice or go through the tertiary system and end up with diploma or bachelor degree, jobs in manufacturing pay well."

A recent report prepared for New Zealand's largest business advocacy group ManufacturingNZ stated that despite persistent depictions of manufacturing by some observers as a sector in irreversible decline, it was still the largest economic sector in New Zealand. 


Canterbury Development Corporation research showed manufacturing was the second largest contributor to Canterbury's economy, earning $3.1 billion annually. It was also the largest employment sector in Canterbury with 3000 firms employing 34,000 employees.

CPIT's Secondary Tertiary Pathways Advisor Anne-Marie Hampton said the gateway programme was about creating meaningful workplace experiences.

"It's not about making tea and sweeping floors, it's about students being work-ready, and in a position to make informed choices about their tertiary training options and future careers."

The programme would offers work placement with high-end manufacturers in a mixture of industries, ranging from engineering, to electronics and heating, she said. 

Youth gateway will be run over either two or three terms next year and will start in term one, with a CPIT block course of one-day per week for five weeks. Students will learn about first aid, workplace safety and practices, along with machinery use, within a broad range of industry-specific environments.

This will be followed by a 10 or 20-week work placement at different manufacturing businesses, to gain a greater understanding of the career options in this sector.

Site visits to these businesses have been organised for October 13-15, along with a tour of CPIT Trades.

Open to Year 11 to 13 students, schools can register interest and apply for positions in term four of this year through their schools. For further information contact: