Press Release – Weltec
New Zealand produces nowhere near enough engineers and, in particular, engineering technologists for our medium term needs, and proportionately not nearly as many as our OECD and Asian neighbours.
Recent OECD figures show that where New Zealand’s engineering graduates constitute 6% of all graduating students, they are 9% of all OECD graduates, and an astonishing 30% of China’s.
Yet the exciting, hands-on project opportunities available to students in our engineering technology degrees is top-class, and has sufficient pulling power to attract advanced degree students year on year, from half a world away.
Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) has recently hosted its twentieth engineering student from the South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences in Meschede, Germany. The two institutions have recently reconfirmed their relationship, established in 2005, with an updated Memorandum of Understanding.
Professor Patrick Scheunemann from the German University has spent the last 3 months in Wellington, finding out what makes WelTec’s Bachelor of Engineering Technology programme such a magnet for young Germans that the competition for the annual internships is intense.
Professor Scheunemann says WelTec’s School of Engineering has a lot in common with the German University. “We both offer a practical approach to teaching engineering, with an emphasis on real projects and industrial applications,” says Professor Scheunemann.
“This makes the students of both institutions in high demand by employers. We both have good relationships with local companies and offer an alternative learning approach to a purely academic study of engineering.
“Studying at WelTec is a highly sought after opportunity for the German students. The students enjoy the projects, as well as the opportunity to work in a professional way in the English language. This is a skill in demand by European employers. The project work is also very sophisticated and at a high level.”
As well as gaining overseas experience and a chance to get to know New Zealand, the most recent intake of visiting students have had the opportunity to work on the design of aspects of ultra high pressure water jet technology for a local Hutt Valley company.
“For students to work on a real project with real-world application, like the ones at WelTec, is an exciting way to learn and gives them an edge in the employment market, says Professor Scheunemann.
Over the last eight years two WelTec students have gone to study in Westphalia as part of their Bachelor of Engineering Technology programme. WelTec Chief Executive Dr Linda Sissons says the Westphalia partnership recognises the high regard that both institutions have for each other. “Our relationship is growing, with new ideas each year. This offers benefits to the students and teaching staff at both institutions, as well as local companies,” says Dr Sissons.