Trades courses starting to fill up
A second wave of Pacific trades trainees will join courses at WelTec and Whitireia Polytechnic in March.
Last year, in a unique partnership between tertiary education organisations (TEOs) and Pacific churches, some 320 Pacific people around the country joined introductory courses to learn trades in sectors where skills shortages have been made worse by the Christchurch rebuild.
The Government put aside $6 million for the Pacific Trades Training Initiative, which covers the course fees of those accepted for the scheme.
In the Wellington region, 80 of these scholarships were available for those studying carpentry, brick and block laying and painting at WelTec and Whitireia.
A similar number of places are available at the two local polytechnics this year.
On January 30, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce and Pacific Island Affairs Minister Hekia Parata attended a function for the 67 local graduates.
The event was hosted by the Fellowship of Samoan Ministers Wellington Region, a group that WelTec and Whitireia have acknowledged as being key to the success of last year’s training.
‘‘The initiative was developed to reach Pacific students who may not normally consider entering into trades such as carpentry, joinery and plumbing.
‘‘ It’s fantastic to see Pacific students succeeding as a result of its introduction,’’ Mr Joyce said last week.
Ms Parata thanked Pacific church ministers who have taken a lead role.
‘‘They worked closely with tertiary education organisations (TEOs) to mobilise large numbers of Pacific peoples, to get them involved and raise the profile of trades as a viable career option.
‘‘ Their on- going support and mentoring of students has also been a key ingredient in the success of the initiative.’’
This year Pasifika scholarships are available for introductory carpentry courses run by WelTec and Whitireia at Petone, Porirua and Otaki. Both institutions are also offering plumbing training.
WelTec is also offering block and bricklaying, mechanical engineering and painting while Whitireia is offering civil construction and electrical engineering.
Courses start in March and places are filling fast. Visit the WelTec or Whitireia web sites and click on the ‘‘Pacific’’ buttons.