A joint initiative launched this year by EIT and iwi is proving an unqualified success in providing Māori trades training on local marae.
The first phase in the scheme – a 19-week, full-time, Level 2 construction programme which was based on Hastings’ Waipatu marae – achieved a 100 percent pass rate.
Eleven of the 15 students who took part have progressed to EIT’s Certificate in Carpentry, a 33-week full-time pre-trades programme which started a month ago on the Waimarama marae. Of the others who completed the original programme, one secured an apprenticeship, another a job and two have moved into other areas of study.
Six Waimarama students have also joined the Level 3 pre-trades programme which sees them undertaking a range of practical projects on the marae.
After making their own sawhorses, the students will construct new timber steps for entrances to kaumatua housing, replace substandard windows, build covered shelters over marae seating, upgrade the kitchen and extend the hauora (health) facility.
“We aim to make the learning as close to real life as possible,” says tutor Jack Pritchard, who enrolled at EIT as a mature student and was named Top Pre Trades Carpentry Student in the 2011 Greenmeadows Rotary and EIT Hawke’s Bay Apprentice Awards.
As well as covering aspects of construction such as tools, building legislation, sustainability and durability, the marae-based classes encompass literacy and numeracy.
Jack says students are making great headway. One student, a 16-year-old, progressed from Level 1 to Level 5 numeracy and literacy on the earlier Certificate in Foundations Studies – Construction programme.
“We are slowly seeing their language skills improve,” Jack says of the students. “They are upgrading the recorded message they leave on their phones, for example, and all this helps make up a better bigger picture as they look to future employment.”
At Waimarama, tikanga is celebrated in karakia, sung at the start of classes, morning and afternoon. A pōwhiri was held to launch the course and a hangi is planned at a later date.
With all the students aiming to secure apprenticeships, Jack says EIT is already knocking on the doors of potential employers.
Head of School Trades Todd Rogers says the programmes are also helping EIT expand its relationship with iwi as part of the preparations underway for Te Matatini, the national kapahaka competition which is expected to attract 20,000 people to Hawke’s Bay in 2017.
“One of the benefits of the pre trades training is that the practical projects assist marae in improving facilities that will be used to host visitors from outside the region.”
As an example of that, the Level 2 students built a deck and fence bordering the Waipatu marae and the Tamatea Rugby Club’s adjoining clubrooms.
“They have an unbreakable bond,” Jack says of his students’ commitment to supporting one another and their marae while also working towards qualifications.