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Victoria University of Wellington in partnership with the regional polytechnic, WelTec, undertook a major exercise to identify, and where possible, resolve, barriers to recruitment and retention in the “digital” engineering specializations. This paper focuses on the retention aspects of this research. Informed by student surveys, focus groups and secondary school academic achievement data, we identified contributing issues of academic preparation, student expectation and cultural influencers. In response we developed an engineering preparation course, a mathematics based diagnostic tool, Peer-Assisted learning support, engineering cultural activities, and redeveloped our core first year engineering course. Although in the early stages of delivery, these initiatives have been well received by the students. We are closely monitoring the results of these initiatives with the expectation that fewer students will abandon their studies and a greater portion of the marginal students will attain passing grades.