11 May 2016
A new initiative was trialled last year where staff and students of Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic’s trades programmes voluntarily lined up for a drug test. The results were great, with a 100% pass rate of the 97 people tested.
The trades department teaches carpentry, electrical, engineering, automotive and collision repair – all of which are considered to be high hazard areas with significant risks associated.
“Our local industry doesn’t want to hire people using drugs and we don’t want to expose ourselves or our students to any increased risk from people using drugs at work or in our workshops,” says John Kelly, head of department for engineering technologies and construction.
“It’s a dangerous place if you’re not fully aware. Obviously, our students will have fewer distractions while learning, and will also be more attractive to employers as they will be safer and more productive.”
With the great results and the high participation rate of the testing a success, the institute began including compulsory drug testing of all trades programme applicants prior to the semester start. The results for the first semester came back with an 8% fail rate, on par with national averages for companies who drug test their employees.
Students at the institute who don’t pass are given one week to retest, at their expense, or they are withdrawn from the programme.
“This is the first time we have included compulsory drug testing for our department,” says Mr Kelly. “Apart from our forestry department, I’m not aware of any other tertiary institute in New Zealand taking this step as a part of enrolment. Many people have been concerned about student enrolments, that drug testing will turn some away but we have seen a significant lift in the calibre of our student groups.
“We believe we are leading the way in taking this step and already can see the positive change in our students. If you have a reason to stay off drugs, you just might!”
For more information
- View subject detail: Automotive
- Related information area(s): Electrical Engineering and Welding Carpentry
Page last updated: 02 May 2017