Giving back to the community is all in a day’s work for one group of young Māori and Pasifika trades trainees from Auckland.
At no cost, the trainees have lent their time and skills to build a retaining wall at Onehunga Primary School, in preparation for the school’s new playground.
The six trainees are part of Māori and Pasifika Trades Training (MPTT Auckland), an initiative launched earlier this year to help young Māori and Pasifika enter Auckland’s booming trades industry.
MPTT Auckland project manager Kirk Sargent says preparing trainees for a successful career in the trades is not only about teaching them practical hands-on skills.
“We also place a really strong emphasis on how each of us can use our skills to help others – that’s part of the philosophy of MPTT.
“Our six trainees are really excited about this project at Onehunga Primary School because it is a chance for them to make a positive contribution to their community.”
After spending two days setting posts and pouring concrete, the trainees spent yesterday, their final day, building a retaining wall for the new playground.
The students and staff at Onehunga Primary School are “hugely grateful to the trainees for giving up their time and skills,” principal Viki Holley says.
“The costs saved by the school are important but the real value lies in the school being part of the community, and projects like this allow the community to come together with mutually reinforcing benefits. This is a great win-win.”
Mr Sargent says Auckland is facing a growing shortage of skilled tradespeople as the city’s building, construction and infrastructure sector takes off to meet housing demand.
“Employers are crying out for work-ready tradespeople, which is what MPTT aims to provide, while also giving our young Māori and Pasifika people access to free trades training and employment opportunities.
“It’s really important that we start to destigmatise the trades industry in New Zealand because there are so many well-paid, rewarding careers available. We need to make trades attractive and accessible to our young people.”
Mr Sargent thanked Grove Mitre 10 Onehunga for offering building supplies at a heavily discounted rate and for their trade representative meeting with the trainees.
“We’ve been incredibly well supported by them through the supply of materials. In typical fashion they’ve jumped right behind this community project.”