Prime Minister John Key was among the new recruits who joined ‘Team Toka’ at the official launch of an exciting cross-sector initiative led by Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou.
Toihoukura, the School of Maori Visual Art & Design in Gisborne, hosted the event which attracted over one hundred people, at the end of August. The hui formally marked the beginning of the Te Toka Maori and Pasifika Trades Training programme, the result of a collaboration between Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou, EIT Tairawhiti and Lincoln University.
Earlier this year the consortium were selected by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Tertiary Education Commission to support more young Maori and Pasifika students from the East Coast/Gisborne region to obtain trades apprenticeships and qualifications. Through the Te Toka programme students aged between 18 and 34, who are of Maori or Pasifika descent, are provided with ‘fee free’ training through to completion of a level 4 qualification across a range of trades including carpentry, farming, forestry and hospitality.
The students are also provided with academic and pastoral care support, with a strong emphasis on growing professional leadership skills. Connecting young people with potential employers is also an integral element of the programme.
Eruera Kawhia is another new Te Toka team member. As the Te Toka Trades Training Manager, he works alongside EIT’s Te Toka Pastoral support and Transitions facilitator Phillipa Harrison. Both Eruera and Phillipa are of Ngati Porou descent, and are enjoying their new roles of providing students with the skills and confidence to pursue their future career pathways. “We give them that starting point,” says Eruera.
Below: A short video report about the launch (courtesy Gisborne Herald).
Allan Jensen, Chief Financial Officer for Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou is the project lead for Te Toka and says Te Toka provides an important opportunity to transform the region’s economic prospects, and create skilled and sustainable employment. Allan describes the main point of difference between Te Toka and similar programmes is the scheme’s collective ethos.
“The philosophy behind Te Toka is that no student will be alone in their journey towards seeking education and employment opportunities. Everyone involved in Te Toka – the trainees, the course tutors, the consortium members and the business community are all on the same team striving to achieve the same goals and objectives. Each member of ‘Team Toka’ has a valuable role to play, and together we can build a better future for our whanau, for our community and for our nation.”