New café skills programme responds to West Coast demand


Strong demand from learners and employers, and the expectation that border re-openings will stoke the West Coast tourism industry, has prompted Tai Poutini Polytechnic to offer a new café skills programme through the West Coast Trades Academy.

The programme will start in June and offer students the opportunity to learn the skills needed to work in the busy café and hospitality industry. Tai Poutini Polytechnic is the largest provider of training options through the West Coast Trades Academy which gives secondary students options to start vocational training in different areas.

Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s Manager Teaching and Learning Moira Todd says the programme is being offered in the second half of this year due to strong interest from learners keen to get started in the café business, and demand from local employers for skilled staff.

“At Tai Poutini Polytechnic we aim to be flexible and responsive to the local industry in order to meet the training and employment needs of the West Coast. We’re excited to offer this hands-on programme to high school students through the Trades Academy and we know it will help them get started on a career in hospitality.

“Covid-19 has had an impact on business right around the region, but there is still demand for skilled workers in the hospitality industry. As the international borders reopen, we expect tourists to return to the West Coast to sample our unique environment, exciting adventure opportunities and experience our friendly hospitality. Businesses are going to need more skilled workers to welcome our guests and make sure they have a fantastic West Coast experience.”

The course offers learners the chance to gain a variety of hands-on skills in food preparation, beverage making, barista skills, front-of-house, customer service and baking. Students learn in a real-world environment at the Polytechnic commercial kitchen and service delivery in the Tutoro Restaurant. The course is available to Year 12 and 13 students from June.

West Coast Trades Academy Manager Tania Washer says the Café Skills course brings a range of new opportunities to our West Coast students, offering much needed skills to our local hospitality employers.

“Students are opting to take up the course with plans for tertiary study next year, using the course as a way to gain knowledge for valuable work opportunities whilst at polytechnic or University.  Through funding from the Ministry of Education, all West Coast Trades Academy courses are free to all students.”


Published 9 June 2022