Sept. 27, 2019, 2:28 p.m.
In June 2018 Forest Protection Services launched the Tupu Ake Employment and training programme which offers full time employment while undertaking training for level three qualifications.
The course is a partnership between NorthTec, Te Uri O Hau Tangata Development and Forest protection services and successfully graduated around 30 trainees.
Managing Director for Forest Protection Services Kevin Ihaka recognised a need for ensuring training went alongside paid employment to ensure trainees are equipped for the workforce.
“These people are employed from day one so they start out with a job. They have a day in class a week so they can catch up on their course without the pressures from work and then they have a day in pastoral care so any personal issues they need to deal with can be done.”
The course also helps trainees set up bank accounts, gain drivers licences and teaches skills around financial literacy alongside local hapu service Te Uri o Hau Tangata Development.
“Everybody gets paid and there’s a bit of potential while they are out in the forest to get their production levels up. This allows people enough time to build their fitness levels up and get work ready.
“We have a partnership with Te Uri o Hau for pastoral support, cultural support even simple things such as how to eat good kai and stay healthy. All those things to make the jump from school to the workplace.”
Graduates of the course said it was an opportunity to meet new people, learn new skills and completing a course from beginning to end.
“It was good meeting new people and my future goals are to keep going on the chainsaws. Learning how to plant was a new skill I learnt along with making sure you are eating well and putting in the effort,” Tama said.
“Learning how to not turn down a task and taking it on board and doing it.”
For those wanting further information on the Tupu Ake training course can be found at www.fpsgroup.nz or talk to your school guidance counsellor.
“My goal is to make sure we can keep doing this, and keep doing it in a sustainable way. We know it works and it works really well and it’s a good investment for me as an employer and it's a really good investment for the government so we just have to figure out how we keep doing this forever,” Ihaka said.