20 Dec 2016
Parents and principals are praising an alternative education system that is changing young lives in Timaru.
For South Canterbury teens who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to stay in mainstream secondary school, Aoraki Alternative Education (AAE) in conjunction with Ara Institute of Canterbury have opened up the possibility of tertiary training and a fulfilling career.
Working with Ara this year, AAE has achieved a 90% success rate in helping Timaru teens achieve their NCEA level 1. These students have been attending dual pathways programmes via Canterbury Tertiary College (CTC) on Fridays, which has boosted their ability to gain further credits towards their NCEA alongside their weekly AAE programme.
The CTC model has helped AAE to inspire their teens even more, through practical, vocational training in facilities at Ara that replicate real world conditions.
“What we know with our students is that they love doing, so sitting and writing is not always appropriate. Working with Ara has helped them enormously,” AAE Manager Leigh Milmine said.
Of the five participants this year, three are enrolling in fulltime programmes at Ara for 2017 (two in Automotive level 3 and 1 in Food and Beverage level 3), one is progressing to Community College and one is already working in the family business.
“They are obviously motivated enough to carry on with their career. Accolades to the staff at Ara for this achievement. A lot of our students would not believe they could study in a tertiary environment, but now they have the confidence to move on and succeed.”
Fiona MacGregor, AAE’s Registered Teacher, credits the support from Ara staff for helping the students to achieve. “For us the transition is amazing. Throughout the year, tutors at Ara have been sensitive to any issues the students may have had. That’s what we do at AEE but for another organisation to do that to such a level is great.”
“Most of our students would not have thought to go to polytech. Many of them have not experienced academic success. Through CTC, they see they can achieve right at the start of the year; they see they can do it.
“These kids are capable, but for whatever reason they haven’t been able to show themselves how capable they are. Parents have been really supportive throughout the year, you can see they are very proud, not just because their children have a qualification from us but also from a tertiary institution as well. It’s great to see the parents celebrate too.”
CTC is a dual enrolment programme where students remain enrolled at their school and study at Ara as well. “Our enrolling school principals are extremely supportive in giving our students the opportunities and backing them to achieve their NCEA level 1,” Leigh says.
Year 10 students who will benefit from the programme, are looking forward to beginning CTC next year.