A group of 20 strong, young and enthusiastic students from the Kapiti Coast have left their surfboards and Playstations alone this summer break.
Instead of heading to the beach or sitting in front of a computer, they are inside a carpentry workshop at WelTec’s Petone campus learning how to use hand tools and mastering basic carpentry techniques in a setting that replicates a real building site.
The students are enrolled in a new carpentry programme co-sponsored by WelTec and Whitireia Community Polytechnic which means they will be well placed to go into an apprenticeship in the construction industry at the conclusion of their 34-week programme.
The students, from Otaki, Manakau and Levin, have been picking up basic techniques at WelTec’s Petone campus and were due to relocate to new premises in Otaki’s Clean Technology Centre.
“We have a carpentry workshop with machinery set up for the students, a classroom so they can learn about consents and a building site where the students will construct a three-bedroom house,” tutor Richard Carter says.
“The students will be with me for four days a week and then they will approach local employers for work experience.”
Mr Carter, who lives in Waikanae and is a former self-employed builder, knows builders on the Coast and he’s anticipating they will get right behind the students.
“With the great set-up we have for the students and the skills they will learn building a house we know these young people will do well. The Otaki community is welcome to come and see what we’re doing here. They may even wish to purchase the students’ house when it’s completed.”
WelTec and Whitireia Community Polytechnic have joined forces to provide trades training to students from Otaki, Paraparaumu, Porirua and Petone.
The decision to offer training in Otaki is in response to an expected boom in the New Zealand construction industry resulting from the Christchurch earthquakes, New Zealand’s leaky homes and the pent-up demand for new homes following a period of historically low levels of house building throughout New Zealand.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the local community,” WelTec and Whitireia councillor Ron Wilkinson says.
Mr Wilkon has long seen the need for high quality trades training in Otaki. “WelTec has an excellent reputation in the construction industry for producing work-ready graduates. Students learn in an environment that replicates a real building site,” he says.
“The tutors are experienced tradespeople who understand young people and can teach them skills and mentor them through their training. Working in partnership, WelTec and Whitireia
Community Polytechnic are keen to expand opportunities with employers in Otaki to provide students with work experience and, hopefully, an apprenticeship at the end of their studies.”
A further carpentry programme as part of this partnership will be offered in Paraparaumu based at Kapiti College beginning in February.