Ōpōtiki community gets behind local pre-apprenticeship programme

Published: Aug 14, 2019 · Updated: Dec 1, 2020

Tagged with:

  • News and announcements
  • Bay of Plenty

Ōpōtiki’s community is working together with central Government to make a difference for rangatahi in the region.

Four apprentices work on a construction site.

Students building one bedroom units as part of their pre-apprenticeship training, funded by He Poutama Rangatahi.

Local tourism business Motu Trails Trust has donated materials for three one-bedroom units to be built by students at Ōpōtiki College, who are part of a pre-apprenticeship programme.

The programme is funded by the Government’s He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) scheme and teaches construction skills to help students transition into a formal apprenticeship after school.

The funding pays for four staff who work across a range of initiatives at Ōpōtiki College, giving students an alternative to a traditional school curriculum and a chance to gain skills that help them find sustainable employment.

Deputy Principal Jenny Mays says the school’s staff are delighted with the response from the local community and the uptake of the course from students.

“In this close-knit community, we make things happen together. We are very excited Motu Trails have pre-purchased the units for our students to build onsite in part of a warehouse they have allowed us to use.”

“We have students on the programme who started to disengage with mainstream school and were at risk of dropping out without achieving their NCEA goals or gaining sustainable employment. Since moving to the HPR programme, they’re actively involved, staying late and volunteering to come in outside class time.”

Jenny says the units will be used as accommodation for tourists by Motu Trails, built by Year 12 and 13 students under the guidance of a HPR-funded construction tutor.

Ms Mays says the HPR funding allows the college to work outside of traditional school curriculum timetables and subjects. It inspires students by showing them what they can achieve if they stick with school, she says.

“Many of our students don’t get to experience what’s on offer outside of the Bay of Plenty, so we take them to Auckland and Wellington so they can see the opportunities available with universities and tertiary providers,” says Ms Mays.

Ōpōtiki College works alongside Te Pou Oranga Whakatōhea and with Whakaatu Whanaunga Trust.

HPR’s investment in Ōpōtiki College was announced in May 2018 by Employment Minister Willie Jackson, funding 65 students for its first year.

HPR funds programmes that provide wrap-around support, tools and guidance to help rangatahi aged 15-24 years old who are currently not in employment, training and are most at risk of long-term unemployment.

HPR received an additional $26.5 million of funding from the Budget 2019, which takes the Government’s total investment to more than $53 million in the scheme.

A group of students and Mitre10 staff stand in front of donated tools.

Students along with Mitre 10, who have donated tools and materials to Ōpōtiki College for the programme, along with Bunnings Whakatane.