Government Investment in Māori Trade Training in Christchurch is welcomed

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) and Hawkins Construction welcome the Government’s further $1million investment in Māori Trade Training in Christchurch.

In June last year, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, CPIT and industry partners launched He Toki ki te Rika (Māori Trades Training) in response to the projected demand for skilled labour in Christchurch and to upskill Māori for leadership roles in the city’s rebuild.

The iwi-led training/industry partnership model gives students the chance to learn in a cultural environment, involving tikanga and te reo, in a 12 to 14 week Māori pre-trade training programme that leads to employment or further training.

In December 2011, Hawkins entered into partnership with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu in regard to creating practical opportunities for building Māori capability and leadership within the trades workforce.

“Ngai Tahu is taking an active role in readying local Maori to meet the skill demands of the Canterbury rebuild,” said Kaiwhakahaere (Chair) Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Mark Solomon. “More resource means more of our young Māori will have the opportunity to be trained and supported through to employment here in Canterbury.”

Solomon says students are responding well to the He Toki ki te Rika partnership model with training and industry. “Increasing investment in enhancing the skills of local Māori will have long-term benefits for the region as well as provide unique leadership opportunities for our young people.”

CPIT Kaiarahi Hana O’Regan said CPIT was well positioned to deliver He Toki. “It was right that we put ourselves forward to support the re-establishment of Māori trade training in Christchurch given our history as a key provider of Māori trade training in the region, and our commitment to whānau transformation through education.”

So far 60 He Toki students have gained employment with local firms. As well as identifying work opportunities, Hawkins has facilitated opportunities for practical learning in the workplace for these trainees to support their work readiness.

“The benefit of this approach is that together we can widen the potential labour pool for the local construction industry, which can only be good for the regional rebuild,” says Andrew Confait, Hawkins’ National Health, Safety and Environmental Manager, who has driven the initiative for the company.

In addition to trades training, He Toki ki te Rika provides students with work readiness preparation including CV writing, gaining site safe certificates and driver’s license preparation, plus mentorship, support through to employment, advanced/leadership training and business development. The programme covers pre-trade programmes in carpentry, painting and decorating, plasterboard, plumbing and drain laying.

The further investment into Māori trade training has come after a proposal of an a an iwi led model, where iwi, tertiary, industry and government come together to build and support Māori capability for the rebuild of Christchurch was put forward to government.

The financial commitment from the government has been welcomed and all partners look forward to working closer with government to develop opportunities for Māori in the trades industry.