Safety concerns halt bach course
Students at a New Plymouth education course aimed at giving young people valuable work experience have had to swap their tools for books while a health and safety audit is carried out.
The Taranaki Futures ‘‘build a bach’’ project at Witt was closed a week ago after concerns were raised about its health and safety standards.
The project is an educational initiative set up to create pathways for young people to move from school to employment, and students were building a bach to industry standards as part of their school work.
Taranaki Futures board chairman Graham Wells said the issues had been appropriately handled by Witt.
Witt spokesman Danny Hall said the site was closed on Friday, June 21, while an audit into health and safety was carried out.
‘‘The health and safety of students and staff is a fundamental priority to all that we do at Witt,’’ he told the Taranaki Daily News.
‘‘A person has raised concerns with some health and safety aspects of the build-a-bach project. As a result a review has been carried out to test the veracity of the concerns raised.’’
Hall said an independent review of the site had found it met the stringent requirements.
Seventeen students are involved and so far only the framing of the bach has been completed.
When the bach is finished it will be auctioned off, with the funds going towards sustaining the programme.
Hall said students had been doing book work while the site was shut down.
‘‘I’m not sure when they will be back on site, but they have been doing theory,’’ he said.
Hall said there was still a lot of support for the project and several businesses and organisations had got on board.
‘‘It’s a wonderful project to strengthen trade skills among the next generation of builders in the region and to encourage our school leavers to study and remain in Taranaki,’’ he said.
‘‘We are grateful for the community support.’’