Passion to prop-up the rebuild
Black Ferns prop Stephanie Te Ohaere-Fox will soon be helping in the Christchurch rebuild as well as tearing it up on the rugby field.
She began a carpentry course at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology yesterday, and is one of four women on the 174-strong programme.
Te Ohaere-Fox, 27, spent the past two years in England, playing for New Zealand and the London Wasps, as well as working for a furniture removal business.
Now wanting to help in the rebuild, she was a little worried about returning to classes.
"I haven't studied since I left school," she said. "I wanted to come back and have a career. I want to rebuild Christchurch. I've been here 11 years - it's my home."
She will balance her international rugby commitments with her studies.
Te Ohaere-Fox is in good company this year. Applications at the polytechnic's Trade Innovation Institute (TII) are up almost 50 per cent on last year and enrolments almost 40 per cent. In total, 680 new students started courses.
This year, an estimated 4000 people will attend TII part-time or fulltime courses.
Polytechnic chief executive Kay Giles was "overwhelmed" by the numbers. With the rebuild, staff noticed more interest in carpentry and engineering courses.
Last year, when many homes were undergoing quake repairs, painting and plastering courses boomed. Staff predicted hospitality, welding and diesel engineering would be next.
TII manager Neville Ward said the polytechnic worked closely with the trades industry, so most students were ready to work the moment they graduated.