Great turnout for engineering movie

22 September 2017

Great turnout for engineering movie

About 150 students, parents, and industry professionals gathered at Whangarei’s Events Cinema to watch the inspiring IMAX movie, Dream Big: Engineering our World.

While it teases with shots of some of the most daring engineering achievements in the world, the movie mostly focuses on very human stories of engineers making a difference in developing countries, and high school student teams taking part in big engineering competitions with simple yet effective ingenuity.

After the movie, Mirko Wojnowski, Engineering Education 2 Employment Lead at NorthTec, gave a brief introduction to study pathways and the shortage of engineers in New Zealand.

A panel of local engineers from Opus, Refining NZ, Whangarei District Council and the Department of Education answered questions from the audience, assisted by Dr. Mike Mullany and Ken Levinsohn from NorthTec’s Civil and Electrical engineering programmes, who answered questions about studying at NorthTec.

The panellists were united about the huge opportunities for engineers in Whangarei, with current infrastructure investment levels and the planned motorway upgrades between Auckland and Whangarei providing large amounts of work for many years to come.

They also spoke about their own reasons for choosing engineering, and students in the audience were relieved to hear that not all of them loved maths in high school, but that the dream to become an engineer motivated them to push through the obstacles to attain their goal.

There was a great variety of pathways represented, with some panellists joining the profession after gaining a Bachelor of Engineering, either in New Zealand or overseas, while others completed a diploma in engineering before staircasing into a degree part-time.

Panellist Jody Kelly said she is still finishing her New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (Civil) at NorthTec, while she works as project delivery manager for the Ministry of Education. Another panellist, Ben Hessell, Instrumentation/Electrical Trainee at Refining NZ, came through an electrical apprenticeship and is now completing his NZDE (Electrical) by distance learning.

The event concluded with refreshments, with many students and parents taking the opportunity to ask more questions of the panellists and NorthTec staff. NorthTec’s Chief Executive Mark Ewen was also present, supporting the evening.

The movie night was part one of a two-part collaboration between the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and NorthTec. The second part will be an Engineering Industry Big Day Out event to be held in late October, where teachers will be able to connect with employers and industry to discover the Whangarei engineering sector, get a taste of work in action, learn about skills required and understand the opportunities and pathways for young people in this sector.

TEC Careers Directorate (formerly Careers New Zealand) staff from Whangarei and Auckland helped with the event, which was also supported by the Institute of Professional Engineers NZ (IPENZ) and Future in Tech, as well as Opus who are the sponsors of the Dream Big’ movie in New Zealand.

The panellists were:
Jody Kelly                  Project Delivery Manager, Ministry of Education
Felix Richter              Acting Northland Business Manager, Opus
Shaun Grieve             Intermediate Civil Engineer, Opus
Ben Hessell               IPENZ Northland Student Rep, Instrumentation/Electrical trainee, Refining NZ
Simon Weston            General Manager Infrastructure, Whangarei District Council
Rachael Mannion       Project Engineer, Infrastructure Planning & Capital Work, Whangarei District Council 

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