By: Christine McKay

Some of the students with the 120sq m cottage they built in the Tumu yards. Photo/Christine McKay

In 22 weeks Dannevirke’s Huia Mullins has gone from trying to build a picture frame to building a house frame and she’ll soon graduate from an EIT Level 3 building course in Dannevirke.

But not only has Huia gained great knowledge from the EIT Level 3 New Zealand certificate in trade skills, carpentry and building training programme, she’s now proud of her communication skills.

“I’ve made a lot of friends on the course and I’m no longer shy,” she said.

Huia was doing up her house and wanted to learn more, so applied for the course.

“I’ve learnt how to frame up a house and I’ve had a lot of hands-on learning I can put to good use,” she said.

“I’ll keep on practising and finish doing up my house.”

Tom Spaic had already completed the Level 2 EIT course and is proud of the students’ achievements in building a house from the ground up.

“We’ve learnt heaps, he said. “I’ve got job prospects and am working one day a week in the timber yard at Tumu’s, but I’d like a job with the Tararua District Council in the building control office.”

Student Fairlane Whaitiri said one of the best things about the course was knowing someone would live in the house he’d built.

“In 20 years time I could see it and know I had a hand in building it,” he said.

The EIT course is supported by Tararua Community Youth Services (TCYS) and Tumu.

Jeanne O’Brien, manager at TCYS, said it had been important to nurture the students through.

“There’s no life for them on the benefit,” she said.

Four of this year’s students have found apprenticeships, along with seven from last year’s course.

David McDougall, assistant head of School. Trades and Technology at EIT, said the course has been very successful.

“EIT have run nine Level 3 building and construction courses throughout the region from Ruatoria to Dannevirke this year, with more than 100 students currently in the courses,” he said.

It’s hoped there will be another EIT Level 2 pre-apprentice course next year in Dannevirke and a mechanics’ course in July.

“We are trying to keep things local, to avoid travel,” Jeanne said.

With just five weeks left of the course and the one-bedroom cottage sold, work was the next big step for the students.

Daniel Martin is looking forward to his apprenticeship in the building trade, with Simpkin Construction in Hawke’s Bay, and one student has already left for an apprenticeship in Pahiatua.

A 7am breakfast was held last week for the students and those in the building trade to help promote job opportunities.

Meanwhile, EIT work broker Claire Hodson and Tararua Community Youth Services are continuing to find work experience until the students pick up an apprenticeship or employment.

Claire will work over the next 12 months to place students.

Michael Pocock graduated top of his class from last year’s EIT Level 3 building and construction course and now works fulltime for Mike Cload at Dannevirke Glass and Aluminium.

“I’m very happy, I’ve the best job in the world,” he told the Dannevirke News.

Source: Hawke’s Bay Today

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