bd900907 e572 4e9f b80c ac57b4da3591Stakeholder News | November 2020

We were pleased last month to welcome Te Pūkenga Chief Executive Stephen Town to our Greymouth campus, where he met with staff, students and our Board and got a good overview of what we’re all about. As we’ve said from the beginning of the sector changes, there are likely to be considerable benefits for the West Coast from TPP being part of a much larger and better resourced national body. Along with a new funding model that takes into account the special nature of regional polytechnics, we also have access to greater opportunities to deliver new programmes in more flexible ways. Take a look through this month’s update for some examples of new initiatives we’re working on right now, as well as our usual round-up of events and activities. As always, it’s a pleasure working with you and our doors are always open if you want to find out more.

Alex Cabrera
Chief Executive

Te Pūkenga takes-in the West Coast

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The visit of Te Pūkenga Chief Executive Stephen Town to TPP in October was an opportunity for staff and students to showcase the great work and new initiatives underway on campus.

Mr Town was greeted at Arahura Marae on Wednesday 21 October with a powhiri before heading on to Greymouth for a campus tour. He took time to meet with students and enjoyed a special BBQ lunch prepared by our own chef students.

TPP Leader – Engagement Mequa Hourston says it was a great opportunity to talk directly to the head of the new institute about the unique aspects of vocational training on the West Coast.

“Staff gave a presentation which highlighted our key programmes, successes and our ideas for the future. We are working on a range of new initiatives for next year which maximise the opportunities created under the new education model and could potentially be a pilot for vocational training that are rolled-out around the country.

“The visit was an opportunity to show Mr Town that we’re focusing on meeting the needs of the West Coast, considering innovation in our training options and that we’re committed to equity and opportunities for all learners.”

Mr Town also met with TPP leaders and the Board during the day. His visit was recognised with a gift of kohatu pounamu on behalf of the institute.

TPP Training for Work students top national work stats

TPP’s Training for Work programme is helping more students into jobs than any other national provider of the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) programme.

Over the year to June, 92% of Greymouth students – and 88% of all of the 31 students involved – remained in jobs for longer than three months. This is the top result for any national provider of the programme and is a significant jump on the national target of 50%.

The 13-week Training for Work programme is focused on getting MSD clients into jobs in the region.

TPP Manager Teaching and Learning Annabell Dey says staff take a proactive, student-focused approach that leads to great outcomes for people.

“We interview everyone who is referred before they start with TPP to discuss their skills and consider what their training needs to focus on. We also make the programme flexible, with a focus on getting them into work as soon as they are ready.

“Our staff are very proactive: they ensure CVs are up to date and work with students to make sure all necessary qualifications for each job prospect (such as First Aid or driver licensing) are covered-off. Our tutors are active in the community and will, at times, go with the students to interviews or assist in cold-calling appropriate employers.

“It’s great to see the benefit of this student-focused training in our results. We know we can make a difference for our students and we’ll keep working with them to help them achieve their goals.”

TPP looking to the future

With all the changes happening across the sector, there are plenty of new initiatives and activities to look forward to from next year. The TPP Board of Directors recently adopted a future-focused strategy that builds on ongoing quality, structure and financial improvements as well as aligning with the new sector model.

TPP is planning to pilot various new initiatives that will act as a programme ‘testing ground’ for vocational training under the new system and can be adopted by Te Pūkenga to roll-out in other regions. All initiatives focus on local and national partnerships, reflect the over-arching goals of Te Pūkenga and integrate various elements of the education reform process. Planning work is underway, but initiatives include:

  • Creating a Specialist Centre – “Sustainable Conservation”: TPP is working with industry and education sector partners to consider the creation of a sustainable conservation hub on the West Coast to looks at issues like pest control, clean waterways, land restoration and outdoor education.
  • “Partnering and Delivering to the Unique Needs of all Learners”: Meeting the training needs of West Coast iwi and encouraging Māori participation in vocational education is a key focus in 2021. TPP will look to leverage off existing NZ programmes, tailoring them for the West Coast and providing local students with pastoral care and access to classrooms and facilities.
  • Being Collaborative, Innovative and Accessible – “Quarrying”: Most of TPP’s existing students are already in work and are looking to progress their careers and move up through the ranks. We want to provide greater flexibility for students by introducing new online and distance learning options in partnership with other education institutes.
  • Primary Industry: Making it easier for learners to train for jobs in primary industries by bringing all the options together under one West Coast programme. TPP is proposing a new qualification in partnership with industry and working closely with employers, to offer study options and choice for people who want to work on West Coast farms.


Outdoor education tutor recognised nationally

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TPP Outdoor Education Tutor Keith Riley was recognised for excellence and leadership at the annual New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association (NZOIA) Outdoor Excellence Awards in October.

Keith received the prestigious Tall Totara award – recognising instructors who personify excellence in outdoor leadership and have contributed significantly to outdoor education in New Zealand. Judged cited his love of adventure, dedication to teaching and advocacy for the outdoors.

He was described by his nominators as “Keith the Great” and “an adventure icon”. As well as tutoring at TPP, he runs the Coast to Coast multisport event and works as a guide supporting expeditions to Antarctica for Quark Expeditions.

NZOIA Chair Gemma Parkin said Mr Riley’s feats and contribution to instilling a love of adventure in others had made him a legend of New Zealand’s outdoor community.

He has competed in a variety of adventure races over the years, where his outstanding fitness and outdoor technical skills have led to high placings. He is also an avid kayaker, known for first descents of some of New Zealand’s most challenging rivers.

“Keith is highly accomplished and his reputation and mental fortitude are well known among his peers, Ms Parkin said. “But what really stands out – over and above his significant achievements in the outdoors – is his passion for giving something back. He is dedicated to lighting the flame of adventure in others and is a staunch advocate for preservation of the outdoor environments that have given him and other Kiwi outdoors people so much.”

Thanks to our house build supporters!

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Greymouth and outlying townships now have 24/7 accessible heart reviving defibrillators, and hundreds of locals have received free CPR/AED training thanks to a collaboration between TPP, Greymouth Rotary and St John Greymouth and the support of local businesses.

The objective of the Save-a-Life project was to make Greymouth ‘the safest place in New Zealand to have a heart attack’. Emphasis was on helping townships some distance from the St John Ambulance headquarters in Greymouth.

As the main sponsor of the project, TPP Leader – Engagement Mequa Hourston said the institute was pleased to support another great community initiative. Funding for the project was raised through the construction and auction of a three-bedroom relocatable home built by TPP students and tutors. TPP coordinated and led the project with fantastic support from local businesses.

“Each year our tutors guide students in the construction of a three-bed home as part of their carpentry training. With the support of local suppliers and businesses, we’re able to donate the proceeds of the sale to local charities after the home is auctioned.

“We’re proud to support the Save-a-life project and especially grateful to all the local businesses and suppliers who get behind our carpentry student house charity each year,” Mrs Hourston says.

The house – and the Grey District community – has benefitted from the sponsorship of local businesses Mico Plumbing, Design Windows, Mitre 10 Mega, Ellery’s Roofing Direct, Tony Stanton Electrical, and from services by Greg Daly Real Estate, Hannan and Seddon, Signlink Graphics and support from the Greymouth Star.

Construction students are well-advanced in building the 2020 house, with the pre-auction open day to be held on Tuesday 21 November and the auction on 1 December.



AgChef tests West Coast amateur cooks

West Coasters will be able to take part in a Master Chef-style cook-off led by TPP culinary arts tutors and local foodies at this year’s AgFest.

AgChef will invite cooks of all levels across the region to put their kitchen skills to the test over a series of events during the weekend festival.

Competitors will start by bringing their best home-cooked dishes for pre-judging, with the top 10 dishes going through to the second round – a live cook-off on Saturday 7 November. Cooks will experience some of the pressure of the kitchen as they have 60 minutes to follow the judges secret recipe dish. Three finalists will head to the AgFest main stage at the event on Saturday 14 November to produce a dish from a mystery box of ingredients. The winner takes home $2,000 worth of prizes and the glory of being judged top chef of the event.

The event welcomes people from around the region and judges are looking forward to a high standard of local cuisine.

AgFest is on 13 and 14 November at the Greymouth Aerodrome. Find out more here.



Roadshow wraps up with busy session

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Secondary students made the most of the final leg of the West Coast Training and Employment Roadshow in mid-October.

TPP, along with Development West Coast, the Ministry of Social Development, Department of Conservation and representatives of the civil construction and primary industries, have toured the West Coast to talk directly with people about study and job opportunities. The roadshow visited Greymouth, Hokitika, Hari Hari, Franz Josef, Westport and Karamea, with the final two sessions rescheduled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The final events were held in October, for the local community in Reefton and for Greymouth secondary schools.

Around 120 students from Greymouth and John Paul II high schools attended the final event and enjoyed a free BBQ lunch in the TPP atrium. Along with information about training and employment options, there were interactive elements and games for lunchtime. Guest speakers spoke to students about employment and education opportunities in the region and we were pleased to welcome the new coordinator for the Mayor’s Task Force for Jobs, Marina Tomasi.

The roadshow was a success for everyone involved, with hundreds of people across the region able to talk directly with educators and industry about opportunities for the future.


Staff Profile: Graeme Reid - Tutor Quarrying, Mining, Driver Education

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Graeme brings 25 years of military service training and a desire to meet the needs of learners to TPP’s driver licensing, quarrying and driver education programmes.

From basic driver education training, to heavy vehicle licensing and quarrying, Graeme’s role is broad. With a little over two months on the job, he says he’s getting a buzz out of helping students achieve their goals.

“I’ve worked all around the world with the military as a driver instructor, mechanic and plenty of other roles in Israel, Egypt, Gaza and Timor. I’ve also worked in Australia, driven logging trucks in NZ and, most recently, worked in the mine at Reefton.

“I like to teach and lead and I really enjoy seeing people get their qualifications. I wasn’t up to much at school myself, so I like to show people that with a little bit of help you can reach your goals. We want people to stay on the West Coast and find jobs here and we can help them out – it doesn’t matter if you have trouble learning, we can work with everyone.”

Graeme says he’s had a great start in the job and is keen to work with the local community, understand West Coast training needs and deliver programmes that meet those needs.

“I love living and working here on the Coast. For me family is number one, so I spend most of my time outside work with the family or taking a ride on my Triumph motorcycle.”


Mastering the art of espresso

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Helping West Coasters master the art of espresso is just part of the job for one of TPP’s newest tutors, Amanda White.

Amanda joined the TPP team earlier this year, running the Training for Work programme that helps people on benefits find jobs in the region. She also works alongside Linda Clarke and Dean Thomas offering short barista courses across the West Coast for people keen to make their own cappuccino, flat white or Americano.

Amanda brings 20 years’ experience in Auckland, London and Christchurch to her new role with TPP, including work in both the hospitality and education sectors. She joined the institute after moving permanently to a Blackball home that she and her partner had been renovating.

“We have been travelling from Christchurch to our house in Blackball on weekends and holidays for three or four years, fixing up the property as best we can on limited time, so it is so amazing to finally be living here. Everyone has been so welcoming and we’re both absolutely loving the Coast!

“I have had such diverse groups through my doors and everyone is at different stages in their careers, whether they are school leavers, changing careers or just interested in learning something new. I feel very lucky to be able to assist in their transitions and support them in such varied ways!”

TPP offers an introductory barista skills short course for anyone interested in learning how to make great espresso. Interest in the programmes is always strong at this time of year, as we head into the busy summer season and local employers are looking for staff.



Jade donation gets students carving

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TPP Jade and Hard Stone Carving students are benefitting from a significant donation of stone from Hokitika’s now-closed Mountain Jade store.

TPP Tutor Sheree Warren said the donation was a huge positive for TPP that will benefit students for years to come.

“On behalf of the programme and TPP, I’d like to thank Mountain Jade for the donation and their support of our students. Keeping close ties to local industry is a key part of our programme as it gives students the opportunity to learn from people already doing the job. We’ll be keeping in touch with Mountain Jade through their Auckland and Rotorua outlets and we’re hugely grateful for the donation.”

The donation consists of British Columbian Nephrite Jade, which is very similar to our NZ greenstone (nephrite) and is a great working material for students who are creating art at TPP.

TPP’s Jade and Hard Stone Carving programme is unique in New Zealand, drawing students from around the country to learn how to make art from stone and turn their creativity into a career. Along with developing technical carving skills, students also learn the history of the stone, its cultural significance and how to make a living from their carving.


West Coast Short Courses
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