Mahia locals recently learnt basic automotive and engineering skills by making cray pots and repairing quad bikes and lawn mowers in a former garage in the northern Hawke’s Bay settlement.
Head of EIT’s Trades and Technology school, Todd Rogers says the 17-week programme was a huge success.
The first community-based automotive programme to be offered by EIT, it was “the perfect model for providing skills that are in high demand in a remote community”.
The nine students – a mix of ages and five of them women – reinforced their learning by working on practical projects that also benefitted the wider community.
The students gifted cray pots they had made to Te Whānau o Te Rarato Te Kōhanga Reo and Te Mahia Primary School. The students also serviced chainsaws, carried out pre-warrant of fitness checks on cars and repaired quad bikes as well as more than 30 lawnmowers.
A local kaumātua says he had never heard so many lawnmowers all going at once on a Saturday – “those students must have fixed every lawnmower in Mahia!”
One of the students, Jo Allen feels the Level 3 New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering programme brought the community together.
“The aunties and kaumātua, they came and sat down to watch us work during the day. So we made them a cup of tea while they watched. They loved it.”
Maree Ormond found the programme “engaged her brain” and motivated her to turn up every day to class.
“I used to drop my kids off at school, clean the house and then bum around. I would never have picked up a welder in the past. Now I love
it and I’m good at it.”
Another student, Jose Allen singled tutor Andrew McCrory out for praise.
“Sometimes we turned up late – usually because of the tide, haha – but we worked all the way through to 6pm some nights because we loved what we were doing and Andy was right there with us.”
Todd says Andy’s involvement was life-changing for some students, with three now looking to progress to other EIT programmes.
“Sitting down with the students and hearing their comments about the programme was quite emotional. It confirmed for me that we are doing the right thing in taking programmes to smaller communities across the region.”
EIT also offered the Certificate in Introductory Trade Skills (Automotive) in Wairoa and next year it will be offering a foundation level trades programme in Dannevirke.