Day one of the Wellington Trades Academy at WelTec’s Petone campus

Day one of the Wellington Trades Academy at WelTec’s Petone campus. L to R are: Mikaira Campbell from Hutt Valley High School, Melissa du Toit – Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu - The Correspondence School, and Baxter Morrison St Pats Silverstream – all three students are studying hospitality as they work towards NCEA and a trades qualification.



"We’re anticipating a great year ahead for our students,” says Matt Renata who heads up the Wellington Trades Academy.  240 enthusiastic young students started their studies at WelTec and Whitireia this week.

“The staff at the Trades Academy are incredibly excited about 2017.  We have more secondary schools than ever before sending their students to us for two days a week.  Students are travelling by train and bus from the Kāpiti Coast and Wairarapa joining other students from Wellington, the Hutt Valley and Porirua to study a range of programmes which include carpentry, sport and exercise science, early childhood education, creative technologies, automotive engineering, hairdressing and beauty, hospitality or general trades skills,” says Matt Renata.

“The option for some secondary school students to learn at a polytechnic is very appealing.  That came through in the interviews we conducted for places at the Wellington Trades Academy.  Each individual student chooses to study at the Academy, it’s not forced on them.  They have to be motivated to succeed and we are very focused on helping students to do well this year.  In a way we are carrying the aspirations of each of the student’s families and whanau for their son or daughter to achieve academic success.  Our whole team is dedicated to this and with our expert tutorial and pastoral care staff in place we are ready to support students to go for it.”

Trades Academy students can expect to be treated like young adults when on campus.  Students take responsibility themselves for getting to the workshop, salon, digital lab or training kitchen.  The expectations for them are the same as for our other students, but with added support to assist the transition from secondary school to an adult learning environment.  “Students in the Wellington Trades Academy thrive on having independence.  The key is to take advantage of all that the Trades Academy offers.  It really is a great opportunity for young people to learn in a different way, master new skills and achieve their NCEA,” says Matt Renata.

Principal of Hutt Valley High School Ross Sinclair who also chairs the Wellington Trades Academy Partnership Committee says the Trades Academy pathway complements what secondary schools can offer.  “For many students the ability to study at both secondary and tertiary institutions at once allows them the transition into the next step that energises them, opening up their futures.”

Background Information

The Wellington Trades Academy is in its seventh year of operation and is delivered by WelTec and Whitireia with students attending secondary school three days per week and two days per week at one of the polytechnic campuses at Porirua, Petone or Wellington CBD.

Wellington Trades Academy students gain credits towards NCEA level 1, 2 or 3 and can complete a trades qualification at the same time.

The programme is provided fees free with students receiving safety gear, travel assistance and learning support and pastoral care to assist transitioning to a tertiary education environment.

In 2017 240 places were available at the Wellington Trades Academy.  All places have been allocated and students wanting to enrol have been placed on a waiting list.


Media contact: Caryn Ellis 0273014674 or