It’s been great to have worked with so many of you over the past month as we all seek to support our region post-lockdown. There are some good initiatives planned, with agencies working together to understand the needs of our employers, industries and job seekers as we face the future. Our planned education and employment roadshow in July and August will be a fantastic opportunity for key agencies to talk directly with people across the region and understand the issues. I am pleased that TPP can support these types of initiatives in our role as one of the region’s largest organisations. TPP is more than a polytechnic – we’re an essential part of our community, supporting local events, working alongside local businesses and getting behind local initiatives. Our aim is to help make great things happen on the West Coast. Under the NZIST we have more opportunity than ever to be responsive to the needs of the region, providing learning options and supporting activities that benefit the community. So, if there’s something you think we could help with, please just pick up the phone or drop us an email.




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Training and Employment roadshow coming to your town!

TPP is bringing an education, training and employment roadshow to a town near you in July and August.

TPP, along with representatives from the Ministry of Social Development, Development West Coast and the Department of Conservation, and the civil construction and primary industries, are holding the roadshow at schools and community centres around the region. Students, businesses, employers and job seekers will be able to listen to and talk with all of these training and employment agencies at the one time, with information available about job opportunities and what skills are needed to fill employment gaps in the region.

TPP Leader – Engagement Mequa Hourston said “We wanted to reach out as far as we could across the region this year, to meet with people and hear how they have been impacted by the pandemic. As well as holding events at schools and community centres in the larger towns, we’ll be visiting smaller centres such as Reefton, Karamea, and Franz Josef. 

“It’s fantastic to have MSD, DOC, DWC and industry join us this year. We’re all working together to support our region post-lockdown and we want to hear what’s happening so we can offer support and options for the future.”

The intention is to visit schools during the day, then hold community sessions in the evening to allow as many people as possible to attend.  In Karamea and Hari Hari we will be combing the community session with the school session.

For more information or to RSVP please contact Jade Keown – jadek@tpp.ac.nz or 027 245 0013.



Study for free at TPP

Make the most of the chance to study for free at TPP in critical industries under the Government’s COVID-19 recovery package.

The new funding lets anyone study for free in primary industries, construction, community support, manufacturing, engineering, and transport. The aim is to support the economy by helping people who are looking to retrain following the lockdown across key industries and where there are skills shortages.

TPP already offers programmes that are included in the free training initiative. We also have options to offer new programmes and courses that are eligible for the fees free offer – let us know if you’re keen to study and we’ll see how we can help.

You can find an initial list of the programmes and courses covered by the free training initiative here.

Find out more at Roadshow events (see above advert).



TPP offers new training to meet changing business needs

Tai Poutini Polytechnic (TPP) wants to hear from local businesses and the community as it prepares to launch training programmes for the second half of the year.

The COVID-19 lockdown has had a significant impact on the local economy. As we gradually shift out of pandemic restrictions, our work or study needs are changing. TPP is supporting local businesses by providing training options that meet changing needs. We want to hear about your situation and so we can look at delivering new programmes that provide staff the skills needed to keep businesses up and running. 

With the establishment of the NZ Institute of Skills and Education, TPP now has greater access to resources and opportunities to meet the training needs of our region.

TPP Leader – Engagement Mequa Hourston says TPP can be an integral part of the change that’s happening in our community right now.

“We’ve launched a survey of local businesses to find out more about their current situations, plans for the future and where TPP might be able to help by providing targeted training programmes or short courses that upskill staff so they’re ready for the new normal.

“We also want to hear from members of the community who are interested in upskilling in certain areas or are looking for a change in career. There are some real options available and we’re always here to talk through opportunities with individuals as well as businesses.”

TPP has been supporting the community by getting involved in the recent launch of NowOpen.co.nz – an online tool to help businesses get back on their feet and show local people what services and products are available during the lockdown.

Mrs Hourston says there were two reasons why TPP was supportive of that initiative, and why it is reaching out now to the community to understand more.

“Firstly, we are responding to an immediate need in the local community. Secondly, we have a role to support future employment and business needs by providing training options that work for local businesses as the economy adjusts.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, we know it’s going to be tough for local businesses. They’ll need to pivot and adjust to a new economy and there’s going to be a need for training and upskilling. TPP is also looking to the future of the West Coast economy and preparing to meet our future employment needs.”

TPP’s business survey is available online at www.tpp.ac.nz or https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XGZ8KKZ


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Caption: Vikki Roadley presenting at the Supported Learning evening

New training for supported learning students 

The community is getting behind TPP plans to offer a new training programme that helps students in supported learning transition to work in the region.

TPP has worked with the West Coast District Health Board to identify a gap in the provision of education opportunities that help students in supported learning move on to higher education or work. TPP is looking to launch a new training programme later this year which will help these students to achieve their goals.

More than 40 people representing health and social agencies, potential students and their whanau, attended an open night in June to discuss the concept. The feedback was positive and TPP is now considering potential start dates in consultation with families.

TPP Leader – Engagement Mequa Hourston says the institute now has the ability to offer a wide range of training programmes here on the West Coast.

“When we became a subsidiary of the NZ Institute of Skills and Technology in April, we gained better access to a wide range of programmes being delivered at other subsidiary institutes around the country. With their support we can now offer these programmes here on the West Coast.

“West Coast District Health Board member Sarah Birchfield, who is also on the CDHB/WCDHB Disability Action Plan Committee, and a mother of a child who has a disability, identified a gap in education for students in supported learning and we discussed how TPP could step in offer the training and education support needed to fill the gap. The result is a potential new programme that will initially focus on preparing students for entry-level positions in the hospitality industry.

Sarah Birchfield says there is a service gap and a need within the West Coast community for people living with a disability, especially transitioning out of high school. 

“Level 1 Supported Learning is a great opportunity for anyone living with a disability to gain skills, confidence and a sense of self-worth,” she says. “It is great that TPP is wanting to be more inclusive and diverse. The public open night just reflects ‘Nothing about us, without us’, “she says.




High schools pitch bright ideas to local business leaders

Nine West Coast high school teams put their business plans to the test at the end of June as part of the annual Young Enterprise Challenge, hosted at TPP’s Greymouth campus.

Teams from Greymouth and Buller high schools pitched their business plans to a panel of local business leaders for The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) Mid-year Pitch. Business ideas included: homemade soy-based candles, which were popular at the TPP-hosted Greymouth Market late last year; Banana Fruit bath bombs for relaxation and for the relief of sports-related aches and pains; Campbell and Rees beeswax lipbalm, a natural non-petroleum-based lip care product; Curiosity Cubed, a science experiment box targeted at schools, home-school families and gift-givers; Re-Think and iCan wooden key chains with positive messaging for mental health and wellbeing; Eco Bagz reusable cloth sandwich bags; West Coast Pest Control, selling humane instant-kill traps and advice to contribute to the goal of making New Zealand predator-free by 2050; and AromaFix, a natural pain relief product pitched as an alternative to pharmaceutical painkillers.

The YES Mid-year Pitch is one of five challenges held throughout the year that contribute to team’s overall results in the business challenge programme – a year-long opportunity for senior secondary students to unleash their inner entrepreneur and experience the start-up world first-hand.   

Head of YES Elizabeth Pittman says the idea is to put students in an authentic real-world scenario to help them develop skills such as business, teamwork, communication, and public speaking.

“We’re absolutely delighted to have nine West Coast school teams taking part in this year’s scheme. It’s also fantastic to have the support of local business to act as judges and mentors, offering students invaluable feedback on their business concepts and plans.”

“The event, hosted by TPP, revealed some great entrepreneurial talent and the students are doing really well in the year-long competition.”

Pitch judges, from Development West Coast and TPP, said they were impressed with the effort and ingenuity of the student business concepts.

TPP Leader – Engagement Mequa Hourston says the event was a great learning opportunity, that was also good fun for everyone involved.

“The students had some brilliant ideas and they pitched them well. TPP is pleased to partner with YES to deliver this opportunity to West Coast schools and give support and feedback to local students.”




Caption: SPCA volunteers from left to right: Karen Potter, Christine Robertson, Neil Messenger and Sue Stoddart

Cookery students recognise SPCA volunteers

TPP cookery students and tutors marked National Volunteer Week in June by inviting West Coast SPCA volunteers to a special three-course lunch.

In recent years, our students have been recognising the efforts of volunteers in our community during National Volunteer Week by treating them to a special lunch to say “thank-you”. In choosing the SPCA to invite to this year’s lunch, cookery students and tutors acknowledged how important our pets were to many people during lockdown, and the great work of SPCA volunteers to care for animals who don’t have a permanent home. The lunch was a great success and TPP looks forward to inviting more community members to the kitchen restaurant in future.



Latest from NZIST – consultation on Mobilising the New World

The NZIST has extended the feedback period on the seven MNW interim reports out until 15 July. NZIST is asking for feedback from as many people and organisations as possible so views can be presented to the NZIST Council in August. Find out more about the reports, which consider the future of vocation education in New Zealand, and offer feedback here.