Clutha trio win PM’s vocational awards


Three Clutha high school pupils are among the recipients of a new award.

South Otago High School pupil Cameron Soper, The Catlins Area School pupil Robbie Jackson and Aaron James Taane, of Tokomairiro High School, have received the Prime Minister’s Vocational Award.

The award is given to those pupils who can demonstrate high academic achievement as well as vocational excellence.

Robbie said he had been “studying hard materials technology at school, and also attending a level two certificate in agriculture at Telford one day a week. I’d like to study for a bachelors in agriculture at Lincoln in 2021, and maybe own my own farm one day”.

Principal Kate Staniford said the award was significant because it was the first of its kind to reward the efforts of pupils looking into a vocational field.

“We often reward our highest achievers who are intending to go on to university, but of course that’s not the chosen path for everyone.”

Cameron said he enjoyed DMT [design, manufacturing and technology] at school, “and hope to get an electrical apprenticeship this coming year. I might put the $2000 towards some tools to get me going.

“My principal put me forward for the award, but I think now people know it’s out there, it could be something more people work towards as they aim to get into the trades.”

South Otago High School principal Mike Wright said Cameron had been put forward “as he had shown the right attitude, ambition and level of achievement in his studies”.

“With some great regional opportunities coming up in the vocational sector during the next few years and beyond, I think this is another excellent incentive for young people to consider this path.”

Aaron received praise from his school principal, Glenis Sim. “Aaron has been an enthusiastic ambassador for the school, and this award recognises both his own motivation to succeed and the importance of the vocational sector for the future of New Zealand as a whole. We’re very happy for all this year’s recipients.”

Tapanui’s Blue Mountain College will announce its recipient of the vocational award at its prizegiving.