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Future Tradies Get On-the-tools Experience With Unique House Renovation Project.

Senior students at South Auckland high schools are taking their first steps into a career in the construction industry with a new education initiative backed by the private sector and government agencies.

Under the umbrella of the Ara Education Charitable Trust, with support from Auckland Airport, the Ministry of Social Development and a number of construction partners, students from Aorere College, Mangere College, Manurewa High, Onehunga High School and Southern Cross Campus will renovate two houses originally destined for landfill.

Officially launched today at the worksite on the Auckland Airport precinct, over the next 6 to 12 months students will get on-the-tools experience across a range of building trades and valuable real-life workplace experience.

According to Sarah Redmond, Schools Engagement Manager at Ara Education Charitable Trust it is important to create a bridge between school and work, as many students struggle to make the transition smoothly.

“We teach them what it will be like in real life and help them with things like getting to work on time, handling and operating power tools, always wearing the appropriate PPE gear, working as a team and also about making safe choices on site. When they finish school and walk into a job, they are prepared and ready,” said Ms Redmond.

Ara Education Charitable Trust, which operates as part of the Ara Business and Employment Hub at Auckland Airport, aims to connect students directly into private sector skilled career pathways, apprenticeships and the support provided by Work & Income’s Mana in Mahi programme. Bringing together the private sector, government and schools is an innovative and unique approach to successfully bridging the gap between schools and further training and skilled jobs.

“This programme is unique because it is a collaboration between schools, various government organisations and amazing companies, all joining forces to create change and great opportunities for our young students.

“We have also identified the need to empower more young women to work in the construction industry, which is currently a very male dominated space. Through this programme we’ll also be focussing on supporting Pasifika young women by not only equipping them with some skills, but really opening them up to the wide range of great jobs associated with the industry,” said Ms Redmond.

Auckland Airport Chief Executive, Adrian Littlewood, said it was important the local community benefited positively from having large employers and associated businesses on its doorstep.

“The success of our community is built on local people having meaningful job opportunities that are close to home. Ara Business and Employment Hub was established with the purpose of making it easier for people in South Auckland to get the training and support needed to get a foot in the door at one of the hundreds of businesses in and around the airport precinct, but we’re especially proud to be helping the housing renovation project” said Mr Littlewood.

“Leaving school can be a pretty daunting prospect for students, so making sure they not only have some basic tools-based experience but also the real-life workplace exposure to back it up, we think will really make a difference in their first steps into a career in construction.”

Construction and demolition are the source of around half of Auckland’s waste, vastly outstripping domestic waste. At the same time, there is enormous growth in building developments with every house demolition producing around 25 tonnes of waste.

Auckland Council’s Senior Waste Planning Advisor, Mark Roberts, said that creating alternatives to landfill for construction and demolition waste is vital if we are to reach Auckland Council’s goal of zero waste by 2040.

“The creation of the Ara Skills yard to divert houses from landfill to a new life as well as a providing a training platform for young people is a fantastic step and we congratulate them on their success,” Mr Roberts said.


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