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Training, jobs and housing for Northland

Training, jobs and housing for Northland

A training scheme that has students building houses in the middle of Kaitaia is sparking interest among the locals.

The joint scheme, a venture between UNITEC in Auckland and Te Runanga O Te Rarawa in Kaitaia, involves training a group of 26 Northland Maori for work in the building industry. It is hoped the students will also provide a willing workforce to repair sub-standard housing in the region.

The students are constructing two houses as part of the course and Vance Winiata, Te Runanga O Te Rarawa's Business Development Manager, says people are coming off the street wanting to enrol. "Having the training site in the centre of town is creating a real buzz in the community."

All the students are receiving scholarships from UNITEC's Applied Technology Institute (UATI), with the Certificate in Applied Technology being taught by local building tutors.

Mr Winiata says that many of the students are long-term unemployed and a number live in remote areas outside Kaitaia. "A course van is provided to assist them with transport - most have limited formal education and wouldn't have been able to get a qualification if UNITEC and the Runanga hadn't brought this course here."

The joint scheme is part of a government strategy to improve conditions in the region, initiated after a number of deaths caused by fires in sub-standard houses. Mr Winiata says the Runanga is taking a bottom-up approach. "We're involving the community and upskilling the whanau so that they are able to repair their own homes and the homes of their extended families, as well as giving them opportunities for work. It is all part of a larger picture we are working towards."

Head of UATI Martin Hall says the institute's involvement came out of discussions with the government. "The initiatives in Northland were mentioned and we suggested a holistic approach to the housing issue. It will benefit the whole region and help to develop the building industry there."

Mr Hall says UATI already had all the necessary elements in place at its Auckland campus to make the project work. "We have a Maori and Pacific Island scholarship scheme for our students and we were able to take that scholarship scheme to Northland for this project."

UATI trained the tutors and provided the teaching resources and framework for the certificate programme, as well as giving ongoing support. Te Runanga O Te Rarawa is providing facilities in Kaitaia, management support and funding for materials.

What: Hui for joint UNITEC Applied Technology Institute/ Te Runanga O Te Rarawa housing project Where: Te Runanga O Te Rarawa, 28 South Road, Kaitaia When: Thursday, 19 June, 11am

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