Training up the next-gen of fibre experts
The future upkeep of our world class fibre broadband network is in safe hands if this year’s Chorus school gateway programme is anything to go by.
The programme sees 75 year 12 and 13 students from 34 schools across the country, gaining practical experience and training on our fibre network, while earning credits towards their National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA).
Launched in 2014, this year’s programme runs from May to September and is being held in Auckland, Tauranga and Wellington with courses teaching students a range of technical skills such as ducting and wiring to more general theory about broadband technologies.
Course facilitator Cameron Childerhouse from iskills says the programme was in such high demand this year that they’ve had to put on additional courses.
“I’ve been blown away by the calibre, passion and enthusiasm of the students on this year’s courses. They are so attentive, doing their own research and coming back the next week with further questions. They really look forward to coming along every week – sometimes turning up early or not wanting to leave.”
One of those teaching students at the Tauranga course this month is Andy Leggett, who manages operations for Chorus in the Bay of Plenty and has worked in the industry for 39 years.
He says it’s a privilege to be able to help pass the baton onto the next generation of fibre experts.
“There were certainly no programmes like this around when I was at high school. All I knew is that I wanted a job working outside and the industry gave me that at the start. I started off at The Post Office in a four year apprenticeship as a trainee, with my first role involving building rural telephone lines and installing poles. In my career I’ve had about eight roles – all have been different, challenging and some very rewarding,” says Andy.
“The continuing rollout of our world class fibre network is certainly a game changer – it’s faster, more reliable, and as IT evolves this industry is definitely one of the places to be. Fibre is the way of the future and good connectivity is integral to our economic and social wellbeing so it’s important we invest in the right talent to manage and operate our network for generations to come.”