‘Theory without practice is empty, and practice without theory is blind’ - Engineering e2e

EDUCATION LINKS CASE STUDY

‘Theory without practice is empty, and practice without theory is blind’

‘Theory without practice is empty, and practice without theory is blind’

'When Allie decided to study engineering, she knew how she wanted to learn. “I wanted to study at a place where teachers devote time to each student. I also wanted to build on my strengths – I like to work practically and collaboratively. ITPs like WelTec offer these opportunities.”'

Allie has just finished the second year of her BEngTech, specialising in Mechanical Engineering, and loves it. “Through the BEngTech you can combine theory with real-life application. In one of my favourite projects we designed and constructed a rubber band-powered car. We had to determine how to get the car over an incline, factoring in stretch, power and so on.” All this takes place in small classes, with supportive tutors who push their students to achieve.

Allie tells us this way of learning has also given her heaps of skills she can take into a job. “We’ve had communications and professional engineering development classes. I didn’t see their importance at first, but quickly found them to be really useful.”

How did Allie find herself here? It wasn’t obvious – her teachers didn’t promote engineering as a career, and she didn’t really know what it was. However, Allie enjoyed Maths and Physics. From there, engineering became the natural choice. She advises other people who are interested in engineering to do their research. “The prerequisites aren’t bad. You can make it, you just need to do your research and choose your subjects wisely.”

After high school and a year out, Allie’s parents helped her to look at engineering study options. She chose WelTec because it’s close to home, a supportive environment and offers great programmes. She’s found that the opportunities don’t stop at the classroom – at WelTec there are staff to help you plan your career, and work experience is advertised regularly. “WelTec advertised a study scholarship with Beca, which I applied for and was awarded. I’ve also had the opportunity to spend a few weeks there during the holidays. It gave me hands-on experience and a foot in the door.”

It later becomes apparent that Allie is a bit of star – she was in fact the first recipient of the Beca scholarship. In her speech this year to a group of business leaders, Allie talks about her future plans to combine mechanical engineering with her love for the environment. Watch her speech here. A few months on, Allie is also considering a career in HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). The possibilities in New Zealand are endless.

And even though engineering is a male-dominated field, Allie believes you just need to look at it differently. “Don’t look at it as a male career – see it as a career where you can meet like-minded people who enjoy problem-solving.”

Allie is testament to the quality of engineers that WelTec and other ITPs produce through the BEngTech. You, your kids or your students can do it too.

Big thanks to Allie for her time and advice. If you have any questions, please get in touch: engineeringe2e@tec.govt.nz.

 

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