Safety con­cerns halt bach course

Taranaki Daily News - - News - Blan­ton Smith

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.’’

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