Fri 27 Jul 2018

Watch this space

Chris Gibson admits he’s champing at the bit.

Chris, WITT’s senior carpentry tutor, has been watching the new joinery and carpentry workshop on the New Plymouth campus take shape in recent months, and now it’s just a matter of weeks before he will be taking his students in for lessons.

“I’ve been waiting for a long time for this,” he says.

The new building was approved by the WITT council at Chief Executive Barbara George’s recommendation to help meet an increasing demand for builders throughout the country.

This year has seen the introduction of a New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Level 3) Carpentry programme at WITT and the students are now working “next door” to secondary school students who are part of the Taranaki Futures-WITT build a bach project.

Two three-bedroom homes are being constructed on the WITT site by the two groups, and the new carpentry block is just a few metres away.

“We are very close to having the new block ready for use,” Chris says.

The carpentry students are already picking up work experience in Taranaki on Thursdays and Fridays, and some were called in by building companies to assist during the break between semesters.

“It’s working out exactly as we planned it – the outcome for employment for these students looks pretty good,” Chris said.

“And I love it when they reach the point – as this group have – where they take control of the project and the quality control of it.”

Chris says the exposure to the work environment for the students has been particularly healthy.

“I treat them as they would be treated on a worksite, and I think they benefit from that when they are experiencing the real thing.”

Build a bach, a highly successful project which assists secondary school students to learn the building trade, is being tutored this year by John McConnell.

Both three-bedroom units will be made available for sale when they are completed.

The popularity of the Level 3 carpentry course encouraged WITT to open enrolments for another pre-trade course starting in October, and those students will be the first to start their studies in the new 264 square metre carpentry workshop.

There are also plans to add a third tutor to teach the increasing number of students who want to become a qualified carpenter.

“It’s great – we are putting real builders into the Taranaki market,” says Chris.


Picture: WITT's new carpentry workshop is almost ready.