When Masterlink Apprentice Training Manager Peter Shields noticed apprentices were falling behind on their coursework, he knew something had to be done.

That’s when an idea sparked.

Pete invited a group of local apprentices to gather around his dining room table in Paeroa for a day-long workshop. With Pete's support, the three apprentices blew through six months of theory assessments.

This was the start of ‘Pete’s Pop-Ups’, an initiative designed to help Masterlink apprentices catch up on their outstanding online assessments.

“The pop-up Masterlink Apprentice Workshops provide the time, space and opportunity for apprentices to come together as a group, (and) have a qualified senior tutor guide and answer those hard-to-understand or difficult questions,” says Pete.

A significant advantage for Masterlink apprentices is that Pete can sign off on their assessment work during the session, with results reported at the end of the day.

Since its humble pilot session, Pete’s Pop-Ups have launched across the country with workshops taking place in Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch. Its success is evident, with apprentices completing up to 15 on-job assessments and 15 online assessments in one session.

Pete's Pop Up Dining Room
Masterlink apprentices gather around Pete's dining room table for a day-long workshop

Pete noticed a change in learner engagement two years ago, when new apprentices were signed into the new Version 3 of the plumbing, gasfitting & drainlaying apprenticeship programme. While all the Version 2 unit standards remained the same , he believes the delivery of assessment learning was one-dimensional and unsupported.

“The apprentices are required to take more responsibility in the learning and theory assessments as the providers moved into a more practical assessment model,” he says.

“Apprentices were also required to complete all (first year) on-job and theory assessments before moving into the second year of their apprenticeship. In the past, apprentices stayed in the same cohorts as they attended block courses.” he continues.

Pete believes that these changes, combined with apprentices being traditionally hands-on learners, have been a significant challenge for some.

“Most apprentices are kinaesthetic learners so need that leg up to get started,” he says.

Ensuring apprentices feel supported with their learning both in and out of sessions is a crucial part of Pete’s Pop-Up workshops. To help encourage learning outside of classes, Pete and the team set the apprentices up with work they can continue at home. “A really valuable takeaway,” he says.

Pete has received glowing feedback from apprentices and their host businesses, showing just how much his initiative is appreciated. Pete says seeing how delighted apprentices are to achieve those assessment milestones is incredibly rewarding.

AKL 230802-1
Nine apprentices participated in the Auckland Pop-Up session

These full-day Masterlink Apprentice Workshops are taking place around the country, with more scheduled in coming months.

To help further support participating apprentices, Masterlink pays their wages for the day and provides catering.

If you are a Masterlink apprentice or host keen to secure a spot, contact your local Regional Manager to learn more.