It’s been a big few days at EIT Tairawhiti, with hundreds of students welcomed to the new study year.
Nearly 700 students attended two whatakau held over two days – the first for the Tairawhiti Schools’ Trades Academy @ EIT, followed by another on Monday for general students.
Tairawhiti director Jan Mogford says the two whakatau mark an exciting start to 2013 for the campus.
The trades academy included 150 students from 11 schools throughout the region – last year the inaugural programme involved 100 students from 10 schools. Students spend each Friday at the Tairawhiti campus studying a range of skills.
“This shows the concept that (former Minister of Education) Anne Tolley had a few years ago not only works, but also meets the needs of students and schools across Tairawhiti,” says Mrs Mogford. “We thought we had cracked it last year with 100 students – this is just sensational.”
“The Trades Academy gives us the opportunity to engage with learners and inspire them to return once they leave school.”
That has already happened, with students from last year’s Trades Academy now signed up for full time tertiary study.
The range of subjects the Trades Academy students can study has also been expanded, with hair and beauty services, carpentry, trade skills, automotive, agriculture, sport and recreation and hospitality all on offer.
EIT Trades Academy manager Paul Hursthouse says the feedback from principals has been invaluable.
“We keep hearing from the schools that the academy is a valuable ingredient to help students meet their NCEA expectations,” says Mr Hursthouse. “Education of youth is not solely a tertiary responsibility – it is becoming a genuine partnership between secondary and tertiary.”
The Whakatau for general students held earlier this week had been moved to the new carpentry area in efforts to fit everyone inside, but still students spilled out onto the nearby car park.
Mrs Mogford said it was a “fantastic” sight to see so many. Whakatau have also been held at satellite campuses up the coast and at Tuai and Mahia.
Maori language tutor Joe Pihema extended a welcome to all iwi, whanau and waka represented at the whakatau.
“You have come here on a journey – for some it will be a long journey,” he said.
EIT Tairawhiti offered all students opportunity and choices.
“With no education though, you are left without those choices.”
He urged them all to make the most of the tutors and services made available to them.
“We are here to make your dreams come true, but you too have to put the work in.”
Those at the whakatau were the first to officially use the revitalised Hub area on campus, which included a new cafe, computers, areas for students to hang out and an impressive video linked lecture theatre, among other things.
Whakatau are held at the beginning of each semester and are a chance to not just welcome students, but to introduce them to key people and learn about the extensive services on offer.