Integrated Engineering programme continues into third year

Integrated Engineering programme for secondary school students

Wintec is running three Integrated Engineering courses this year and is looking at alternatives to taster days in raising awareness of careers in engineering.

Integrated Engineering programme 2018

Wintec is running three Year 12/13 Integrated Engineering courses this year.  Fairfield College is involved again, along with three new schools – Rototuna Senior High School, Nga Taiatea Wharekura and Hillcrest High School. Fraser High School withdrew from the programme due to lack of student interest.

Students come to Wintec two days a week for the programme.
Case study: Design thinking for educators and students
Case study: Extending successful secondary-tertiary initiatives
Case study: Secondary/tertiary engineering programme 

Three classes running, with space for more students

Project Manager Kazlo Evans says that although there are 30 students enrolled in the programme, there is space for 50. “It’s disappointing that we don’t have the number of students we could offer places to, and that attendance rates tend to be around 70 to 80%. It doesn’t help that school activities such as sports days have an impact on how many turn up to class.”

“One of the challenges for us is that schools are often less willing to release high-academic students for programmes such as this – and the students most likely to drop out from the programme are those with limited maths or science.”

Other challenges in recruiting students into the programme

Another challenge in recruiting students into the programme, says Kazlo, is that schools are not as keen on the 3 + 2 model – where students attend Wintec for two days and school for three.

“Having the students here for two days allows us to go into more depth in terms of the knowledge and skills we teach and provides more time to engage them with engineering and the opportunities available through the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering and Bachelor of Engineering Technology.”

“Schools, however, are more familiar with the 4 + 1 model used in our Trades Academy – where students come to Wintec one day a week. Our programme does require a greater commitment from schools and students.”

Engaging schools and students with Level 6 and 7 study pathways

Wintec, in common with other tertiary institutions, finds that engineering continues to be an unknown field for many students and their parents. Those who might be interested in an engineering career often don’t know about the Level 6 and 7 study pathways.

“We’re trying to build stronger relationships with careers advisors, so that they can highlight the alternative pathways into engineering for their students.”

The 2017 course is being repeated for this year’s students, with the Secondary-Tertiary Pathways Project (STPP) team looking at potential modifications. “We want to make it more exciting,” Kazlo says, “keep the students engaged with what they’re learning. We plan to incorporate aspects of design thinking – It’s quite cutting edge in New Zealand, although this approach has been around for many years in the USA.”

 Promoting design thinking to teachers

Following last year’s Design Thinking for Educators and Students course, the STPP team is keen to expose more teachers to design thinking as a pathway into engineering.

“We’re keen to offer the course again, so hope to run that later this year.” Rototuna Senior High School is very enthusiastic, so we’ll start with them and hope to involve more schools.”

Moving away from engineering taster days

While the STPP team looked at developing engineering taster days last year, they have changed direction. After evaluating past events, and in line with current research showing that one-off events have a very limited impact on students compared with longer-running initiatives, the team is considering other options to reach Year 9 – 10 students.

Our thanks to Kazlo for his time and advice; if you have any queries please contact

June 2018