'Taster' building course for jobless nears end

KIMBERLEY CRAYTON-BROWN
Last updated 05:00 29/11/2012
Todd Harvey
NICOLE GOURLEY/Fairfax NZ
BUILDING UP: Todd Harvey and Justin Rea have taken up the opportunity to complete a 12-week trades course at the Southern Institute of Technology, the first time the course has been offered at the polytech and part of an initiative to get people off the unemployment benefit and into trades.

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An initiative to get people off the unemployment benefit and into the trades industry has almost completed its first run at the Southern Institute of Technology.

Sit chief financial officer Bharat Guha said 15 people on the unemployment benefit were completing the 12-week National Certificate in Building, Construction and Allied Trades Skills at the Invercargill campus.

The Government funded an additional 130 equivalent fulltime students (EFTS) for trades programmes at Sit as part of the Skills for Canterbury training scheme to help with the post-earthquakes rebuild. There were 32 people on the course in total, Mr Guha said.

Sit had approached Work and Income about offering the scheme to those on the unemployment benefit, and they had been "fantastic", he said.

It was the first time the certificate had been offered at Sit, and trades programme operations manager Warren Ruwhiu said they hoped to offer three to six more intakes next year.

The 12-week course is a "taster" course, and students can then go on to complete a full trades course, or take up an apprenticeship.

Mr Ruwhiu said some of them had never done trades work before and were enjoying it. Completing the course gave them the opportunity to prove their ability, commitment and reliability.

Tutor Gary Popham said the group had been building a house on the campus for the past 11 days, which would be finished in several weeks, then sold. Another group was building a shed.

About half of the group wanted to complete the full trades course next year, which was a great outcome, Mr Popham said.

Work and Income regional labour market manager Emma Hamilton said the organisation was always looking for initiatives. kimberley.

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