More Māori wanted for trades training

CPIT, Te Rūnanga Ngāi Tahu and Hawkins Construction will host a Māori trades open evening at CPIT’s Trades Innovation Institute on Friday evening [5 April] at 6pm to encourage more Māori to learn the skills they need to contribute to the rebuild of Christchurch.

The Māori trades training programme He Toki ki te Rika combines the expertise of iwi, tertiary training and industry to build Māori leadership in the trades industry.

Tā Mark Solomon, patron of the programme and guest speaker at the open evening, is encouraging whānau to step up and join He Toki.

“We have worked with tertiary and industry to create and deliver a course that specifically caters to Māori. He Toki is a start for whānau wanting to step up and take advantage of the job opportunities arising from the rebuild.

“Billions of dollars will be spent on the rebuild and Māori need to be part of the group who benefit. We want these students to go on to become the supervisors, the project managers, the foremen. He Toki is about leadership.”

Thanks to a $1m boost from government late last year, He Toki scholarships have been created to provide full fee support, help with work placement, a $1,000 apprenticeship grant and dedicated resource to help continue the development of He Toki students after they leave CPIT.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Māori and we are very pleased to be the training providers for He Toki. CPIT is committed to Māori achievement and to ensuring all Cantabrians have the opportunity to contribute to the rebuild, so we would encourage people to come to the open evening and find out how to take the next step towards a rewarding career,” CPIT Chief Executive Kay Giles said.

Since He Toki was launched in June 2010, more than 150 Māori have completed the course; 89 of those students are now employed and most of the remainder have enrolled in further training. Another 71 students enrolled in January and a further 80 places are available for the May intake.

He Toki courses are 12 to 20 week pre-trade programmes in carpentry, painting and decorating, plasterboard, plumbing and drain laying. The students are taught at CPIT’s Trades and Innovation campus and learn in a cultural environment, which involves tikanga and use of te reo. He Toki students also complete the work readiness passport, a programme developed by Hawkins Construction to get students ready for the industry.

Hawkins Construction South Island Manager, Steve Taw says it is extremely satisfying to be part of a programme which provides direct benefit to the local community and iwi.

“The benefit of this approach is that we all work together to widen the potential labour pool for the local construction industry, which can only be good for the regional rebuild.”

He Toki carpentry student Michael Alan started his course just eight weeks ago. “I heard about the courses through my uncle and my mentors at my kapa haka. I like building stuff and they told me it was free to study for Māori people so I jumped into it,” he says.

The support offered to him through He Toki was a big part of his decision to study. “It’s been amazing to be able to get that support to try something and just do it. The work brokers at CPIT help us a lot but we have to go out and make it for ourselves too” he says.

The He Toki ki te Rika (Māori trades training) open evening is at CPIT’s Trades Innovation Institute, Ensors Rd, on 5 April at 6pm. Please RSVP to 0800 24 24 76.