The Pacific Island Scholarship students are part of the Government’s Pasefika Trades strategy where 300 are being trained in trades required for the rebuild of Christchurch, and to support infrastructure developments across the country.
Acting Dean of the Trades and Technology Faculty and Head of the School of Construction at WelTec Neil McDonald, who has worked in the industry for more than 30 years, commented on the outstanding quality of the house which has been sold on the open market, and is about to be transported along with two other houses to the Coromandel.
“This is our first intake of Pacific Island students. They have studied and worked hard all year as a team to complete this house. I’m very impressed with the detailing for this build. The students will be an asset to any employer,” Mr McDonald says.
A unique feature of the project has been community support, provided by Pacific church ministers who quickly got behind the project when it was announced in late 2011.
Reverend Nove Vailaau, one of the ministers who was involved in promoting the initiative from the start, commented that it was heartening to see Pacific Island people succeeding in their programme of study. He congratulated the students for producing such high quality work.
“WelTec students, along with those studying at Whitireia, are part of the push to get more Pacific Island trainees into the trades,” Reverend Vailaau says.
WelTec’s Pasifika Advisory Committee, with community members representing each of the seven major nations in the Pacific, also provided liaison and support for the students.
The students come from different backgrounds — some straight from school, such as
L A Moemai, who always wanted to be a builder.
“I want to go on and study a level 4 qualification in carpentry next year at WelTec. I need a job in the industry to do this. and with what I’ve learnt this year I’ll be in a good position to do both.
Another student, Enisila Lotaki, came to study at WelTec after working in a variety of jobs. “My children and grandchildren provide the inspiration to me to get this qualification. I want to make my family even prouder, and work in the building and construction industry, whether that is in Wellington or Christchurch.”
WelTec chief executive Linda Sissons acknowledges the hard work needed by the students to get to this point. “WelTec wants to train more Pacific Islanders. Having a tertiary qualification is important — it provides a key signal to employers that a prospective employee has the right skills and attitude to make a big contribution in the workplace.”