Stakeholder News | July 2021
We’re over half way through the year now and it’s been a busy one here at Tai Poutini Polytechnic. We have always considered ourselves “more than a polytechnic” which for us means supporting local events, getting behind activities in the region and working to meet the needs of the West Coast. We’ve embraced this concept over recent years and it gels with the message we see from Te Pūkenga: Me mahi tahi tātou mo te oranga o te katoa: We work together for the well-being of everyone.
Making the most of new networks to create benefits for the West Coast is the aim of our proactive approach to the new national model for tertiary vocational training. Already this year, the Polytechnic has launched or progressed a range of new initiatives that make the most of the new system to deliver results for the region and learners. Examples of how we’re making changes that are good for the West Coast are included in our opening story below.
There’s a lot of work involved, but it is all part of our objective to place Tai Poutini Polytechnic at the forefront of the reforms, leading and introducing new initiatives and ideas that show how the new model can be utilised to deliver results for learners, employers and communities. It’s not enough that we sit back and let change happen to us; we need to show how the West Coast is unique and a great training ground for ideas and concepts. By doing this we ensure the future of quality, sustainable tertiary vocational training for our region.
I hope you enjoy this month’s update.
Polytechnic at forefront of reform opportunities
Making the most of new networks to create benefits for the West Coast is the aim of Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s proactive approach to the new national model for tertiary vocational training.
The Polytechnic became a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga in April 2020, joining 15 other regional training institutes to create a new national vocational training provider that will also include Industry Training Organisations. The new systems is expected to take full effect from the beginning of 2023, however Tai Poutini Polytechnic is already making the most of access to new connections and partnerships.
Already this year, the Polytechnic has launched or progressed a range of new initiatives that not only make the most of the new system to deliver results for the region and learners but also provide valuable information into the Te Pūkenga operating model and to the changes of the wider vocational reform. The following examples show how we’re making changes that are good for the West Coast.
Access to more training options with campus support
Tai Poutini Polytechnic has just launched a partnership with the Open Polytechnic of NZ which allows West Coasters to access a huge range of online learning options, while still enjoying all the benefits of access to campus facilities, including health and study support, library and computer facilities, plus all the benefits of campus life and activity.
Getting more agriculture students into jobs
Tai Poutini Polytechnic and Primary ITO have joined together on a training initiative that aims to get agriculture learners in jobs more quickly by offering training options. The collaboration allows students to share their time between tertiary education providers, shifting their training focus depending on work opportunities. The initiative is a great fit for the new Te Pūkenga model, putting learners at the centre and seeing training providers work together to explore new ways to benefit employers and the community.
A one-stop-shop for conservation and environmental learning
Tai Poutini Polytechnic is bringing together South Island Te Pūkenga subsidiaries to work collaboratively with iwi in key areas where existing interests cross-over. The initiative is in its early days.
Fruit buns raise funds for West Coast Stroke Foundation
Aromas of spice and baking filled Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s campus kitchen in July as cookery students baked fruit buns to raise funds for the West Coast Stroke Foundation.
In what has become an annual event for the West Coast Trades Academy cookery students, the fundraiser was a great way for the Polytechnic to support a local charity and give students a chance to get behind a great local cause.
More than 1000 fruit buns flew out of the kitchen – while still hot – on pick up day.
Cookery Tutor Evelyne Baumgartner says it was once again a great opportunity for students to get involved in their local community and put their growing baking skills to the test.
“Whether we’re baking cupcakes for Daffodil Day, slices to support our supermarket workers post-Covid lockdown or cooking brunch for the cancer society, getting the students involved in charity work is a fantastic way to get them connecting their cooking to their customer and community.
“The students did so well, stepping up to take responsibility for the massive production and the selling of the buns. We saw lots of smiley faces, and not just from the people receiving the buns! It was a great team effort and a big thank you to the community who helped to make this a success!
“It’s another way we can be more than a polytechnic for our community and, at the same time, create benefits for our learners and for a great local charity. And by the way the students had chosen to make fruit buns with the colours of their charity, blue and white stripes for the Stroke Foundation” she says.
Fees Free training on offer in key industries
West Coasters can still enrol in fees free training across key employment sectors for the second half of 2021. Tai Poutini Polytechnic is offering a range of mid-year programmes that are included in the Government’s post-Covid-19 recovery package. This includes all trades training, such as carpentry, engineering and the civil plant operation “Digger School”. Contact us today to find out more and enrol for the second half of the year!
Digger School to set-up in Westport
Following strong demand from the local community, Tai Poutini Polytechnic will run its popular Civil Plant programme in Westport from the end of July.
The programme – known as the “Digger School” – will continue to be offered in Greymouth and Auckland. Interest from the Westport community and demand from employers has led to the decision to expand the programme to run in Westport.
Students learn how to operate a range of heavy machinery to prepare them for jobs in the busy civil construction and extractive industries. Those enrolling in the programme are eligible for free fees under the Government’s post-Covid-19 recovery package.
Tai Poutini Polytechnic Manager of Teaching and Learning Peter O’Sullivan says there’s plenty of work available in the Buller with new developments underway and projects funded under the Provincial Growth Fund, along with a strong and healthy extractive industry, so it makes sense to expand the programme north.
“We’ll run it just as we do in Greymouth, with a focus on practical, hands-on training that get students competent and safe on a range of heavy machinery. The training is all about getting graduates into jobs on the Coast so we’ll continue working closely with local employers to get them people that are ready for work.
“We’re still calling for enrolments, and anticipating that the programme will start with 14 students. Interest is strong from Westport social and work agencies in the possibilities the programme offers.”
The Westport Civil Plant programme is scheduled to start on 26 July and be based at our Trades Campus in Coates Street. This 29-week programme aims to get students ready for entry-level jobs in the construction, extractive and civil industries.
Careers hui shares ideas for Coaster's future
The Tai Poutini Polytechnic Careers Hui brought West Coast educators together to share ideas about making better futures for local learners.
Regional educators, careers and employment advisors came together at the end of June at Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s Greymouth campus to share conversations, kai and a chance to consider how to create opportunities for employment for West Coasters.
Tai Poutini Polytechnic Career Hub Coordinator Maree Thomas says the Careers Hui is held three or four times a year as a way to gather together those working in the West coast careers space, support people in finding employment, and offer advice on pathways to training and employment.
“With so much going on post-Covid, there is some amazing work being done in supporting employment opportunities on the West Coast. This has been an afternoon to come together to discuss ideas and challenges in making sure those opportunities keep being available for students and youth entering our workforce,” she says.
Maree says the hui touches on topics such as engaging parents and whanau with career pathways and training, as well as educating and supporting employers.
“We have teaching and careers staff from high schools and employment brokers from MSD community organisations who work with people of all ages, supporting them to find employment or training,” she says.
Tips for staying safe on West Coast roads
By West Coast Road Safety Coordinator Glenys Byrne
New Zealand roads can be daunting for a new driver preparing to sit their license. Our unique Kiwi road system, coupled with sometimes extreme weather, can truly test the skills of fledging motorists!
While Covid-19 has reduced overseas tourists on our roads, a boost in domestic tourism has kept the steady flow of cars and campervans on our tourist routes as Kiwis choose to explore their backyard. So, our roads remain busy. Add winter conditions of snow, rain, flooding, wind, ice, sun strike and shorter daylight hours – not to mention features like one-way bridges and rail crossings – and the risks to our safety increase. New drivers may be facing these hazards for the first time.
Winter is a time to reduce the risk of danger with extra vigilance on the road. To be safe, you could stay at home and watch Netflix – or you could get out there and make the most of your journey! Just know that better awareness of your surroundings and taking some extra precautions can considerably reduce the risks to you and others on the roads.
To minimise dangers when driving in bad weather:
- Slow right down!
- Stay in control (lower speeds help you maintain control and give you time to react to the unexpected).
- Maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front – follow the four-second rule in bad weather.
- Be extra vigilant for people and hazards.
- When light is low and visibility poor, turn your vehicle lights on! They make you easier to spot, and help you spot oncoming vehicles earlier.
- Check weather and road conditions on the Waka Kotahi NZTA Website before you head out.
- Know how to fit snow chains, and practice before your journey. Fitting chains like a pro saves time and earns respect! A pair of cheap work gloves stashed in the boot keep frosty, muddy fingers at bay.
- Don’t forget to de-ice windows, ensure window wipers are effective, and check tire pressure before you hit the road.
- As well as extreme winter weather conditions, New Zealand has more than 3,000 road level railway crossings and nearly 200 single lane bridges! These can also present a challenge to new or unfamiliar motorists.
Here are some tips for keeping safe on:
- One-way bridges – be familiar with the road rules and signage. Only proceed if the bridge is clear of oncoming traffic! Take it slow and be prepared to stop.
- Road level rail crossings – be prepared to stop at give way signs, stop at stop signs, and look both ways for trains. Stop if barrier arms and flashing lights are operating, and never drive under, around, or through a barrier arm while it is down or moving. Never cross the track when a train is approaching! You can cross when the lights stop flashing, the bell stops ringing, the train has passed and the road ahead is clear.
Following these tips can ensure you and others get home safely this winter. Be safe, be seen. Arrive alive. Drive Safe West Coast!
Agriculture students visit Pamu Farms
Tai Poutini Polytechnic Agriculture students got a taste of life on the farm through a recent visit to Pāmu Farms.
Students looked at cow sheds, farm machinery, farm infrastructure and accommodation blocks. They spent time with farm managers and staff and talked about working on the farm.
They learned about the difference between corporate and privately owned farms, talking with Pāmu farm staff. Pāmu is the brand name for Landcorp Farming Limited, a State-Owned Enterprise with a nationwide portfolio of farms that produce milk, beef, lamb, wool, venison, wood and more. Pāmu strives to be a leader in New Zealand agriculture, carefully creating natural products of high quality and has several farms on the West Coast.
For more information on our Short Courses visit here