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Len started thinking all he had to do was teach the students to build a house. He soon realised, however, that first he had to build up his trainees.
The Pasifika Trades Training initiative is for Pasifika learners who would not normally enter trades training. It is designed to give them the opportunity for future employment. The initiative offered a fees-free place in a one year pre-trade training course at levels three and four.
Five Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) participated in the Pasifika Trades Training Initiative. These were CPIT (Canterbury), WelTec (Wellington and the Hutt Valley), Whitireia (Porirua and the Kapiti Coast) and MIT and Unitec (Auckland). Pasifika community leaders played a key role in promoting the initiative and with recruiting learners.
Len Matautia, a WelTec Tutor, taught carpentry to 14 Pasifika Trades Scholarship students. Twelve passed their trades training certificate. The boys were tasked with building a house over 34 weeks, whilst completing assessments along the way.
"Coming from a poor background, some felt they were at the bottom ...and failure wasn't a loss as they felt they were already there. I had to change that way of thinking. I changed the focus from building the house to building the person. Building the person by using the house to expand minds and change mind sets. Each stage of the house was used as a stepping stone to build the person."
English was the trainees' second language, so "relating teaching to [their] culture, religion and family helped them to understand. I had to get back to basics, working to their strengths, hands on. [Getting them] working as a group, working hard for each other. Knowing they were part of something big gave them a lift," Len said.
Len's unique approach soon paid dividends.
"Success breeds success, the more they got right the more eager they were to learn. Teaching them dedication, commitment, pride in themselves and in their workmanship ultimately reflects on their finished product - which is the house," Len said.
Budget 2012 made 600 dedicated said.
Budget and Pasifika trades training places available. Budget 2013 will provide funding for 3000 of these places by 2017 at a cost of $35.037m over four years.
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