Building up the East Coast

January 20, 2016
Raising the roof in Ruatoria – EIT trades students working on the roof of Tikapa Marae.

Raising the roof in Ruatoria – EIT trades students working on the roof of Tikapa Marae.

People on New Zealand’s rugged East Coast pride themselves on resourcefulness and self-sufficiency – EIT’s trades training gives them skills to achieve that outlook.

Those who founded EIT Tairāwhiti almost 40 years ago saw it as a resource for the entire Tairāwhiti district. That commitment endures with campuses in Ruatoria, Tokomaru Bay and Uawa as well as the Rural Studies Unit and the main EIT campus in Gisborne.

People can choose their level of learning for example, there is the Certificate in Introduction to Trade Skills Carpentry (Level 2), which is great for people who want some practical building skills for projects like decks and fences. This course is available in Ruatoria and Uawa (Tolaga Bay).

For those who prefer metal and wood, there is the Introduction to Trade Skills – Automotive. Project-based, it is well-suited for constructing braziers, kai cookers, ATV re-builds, trailers and the like. Students learn welding, machine work and fabrication.

As they learn these new skills, EIT students undertake projects in communities, says EIT’s assistant head of school for the School of Trades and Technology, Tim Jagusch. “We do a lot of community projects at kohanga, on marae and at people’s homes.

“We’re there to create growth, encourage learning, re-engage people with education and foster independence. They’re house proud on the Coast, and proud of their region so we want to do things that support that culture.”

Some people start Level 2 and move to Level 3, which is taught on EIT’s Ruatoria campus, where the programme prepares them for careers as builders, both on the Coast and further afield.

Programmes give students industry experience, and the satisfaction of learning new skills and building in the work environment. This has a big impact, says Carpentry tutor Paki Dewes, who is based in Ruatoria.

“It’s amazing the change we see in some people over the time they are with us, especially if they go from being unemployed to securing work, becoming skilled in new areas and finishing projects. It’s huge.”

As Te Runanganui o Ngāti Porou invests more in economic development on the Coast there will be growth in demand for skilled trades’ people, he says.