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Support for Trades Academy helps build pathways

Ruapehu’s booming construction sector is providing opportunities for students in the Taumarunui High School (THS) Trades Academy to take on real projects and gain real-life work experience.

Council’s Property Team was struggling to find any spare capacity within its normal commercial contractors to reinstall playground equipment that was saved from the 106-year-old Kakahi Primary School when it closed in April 2016.

Property Team Leader Rebecca Van Orden said that the Kakahi Community Group salvaged the equipment and following a recommendation from the Ward Committee Council approved the development of a new community playground on a road reserve area.

“That was over a year ago and although we had the funding available local commercial builders were too busy to start the project anytime soon.

The situation has however provided a great opportunity for Council to support the students in the THS Trades Academy with a real job,” she said.

Trades Academy Carpentry Tutor Steve Kernot said that having a real project for the Academy students to build provides them with invaluable experience that cannot be replicated in a classroom.

“In addition to developing practical skills and on-the-job decision making ability it is a great way for the kids to get their name out there and show to prospective employers that they are good workers and are reliable,” said Mr Kernot.

We want to get the kids to know what it is like to work on a real job, under a real boss, with the goal of them ultimately getting permanent employment.



The kids are showing that when they are given a real project they are on time, working well, and all they need is some direction and a chance.

The Academy is looking forward to working with Council on similar projects in the future, he said.”

Mayor Don Cameron added that developing the skills and talent we need as a region and as a country in our youth is critical and something all organisations should be thinking about.

“Despite there being worker shortages in many areas young people often have difficulty in gaining employment because of an incompatibility between skills and requirements.

Council as part of the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs is committed to helping provide pathways for students to connect from education to employment wherever we can.

This project is a good example,” said Mayor Cameron.

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