New partnership creating work-integrated education environment

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WITT has partnered with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), and Project Maunga to help generate the workforce needed for the $300m stage 2 development of the Taranaki Base Hospital.

Project Maunga Stage Two is the continuation of the Taranaki Base Hospital Redevelopment and will see the construction of the new East Wing Building (NEWB), a 20,000m2, six-storey building housing many of Taranaki Base Hospital’s acute services including ED and ICU.

The new partnership is opening the door for WITT graduates to gain apprenticeships with firms involved in the build. Current WITT students in the Construction Management and Architectural Technology programmes will also be given opportunities to complete internships with the firms while they are studying.

WITT Chief Executive John Snook said “The Project Maunga construction site will provide an outstanding “work-integrated educational” environment, as per Minister Hipkins’s initial Vocational Education reform vision. Students will have the best of on-job and on campus learning, all the while, fully employed in the construction industry.”

“Project Maunga is a significant sized project and it will provide opportunities for the future workforce of Taranaki to get an education, gain experience and make a meaningful contribution to the regional economy of Taranaki.”

“What will make this initiative even more significant is if it can attract a new and diverse group of individuals to the construction industry, and thus provide others with a roadmap for the economic transformation of individual, whanau, hapu and regional community as a whole. The test for the new Te Pukenga organisation will be if it can be as locally responsive as this initiative” he said.

Gloria Campbell Regional Commissioner for MSD recognised the project’s importance and acknowledged WITT’s experience and expertise in providing training and opportunity to people.

 “Projects like this are really important in terms of maximising the number of jobs locally for people who perhaps haven’t entered into a career or had that opportunity.”

“It’s really important that WITT’s involved in a long-term project like this as that gives us an opportunity to increase the apprentice and trades numbers in the region.”

The new partnership has also created a new joint role, which is being filled by Katrina Mayo. Katrina works alongside the Project Maunga management team to coordinate recruitment, training and upskilling, as well as engaging with local education organisations and providing support for site workers.

Andy Cowan, Senior Regional Advisor for the Sector Workforce Engagement Programme with MBIE said he is ready to see the benefits the new role can give to the Taranaki region.

“Sector Workforce Engagement Programme (SWEP, Kānoa Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit, MBIE) are extremely proud to play a partnering role alongside WITT and MSD to be able to help get Katrina’s role moving, it shows that collaboration allows action,” he said.

“Working alongside WITT, MSD, and Project Maunga to help drive the local construction sector will ensure that local people and businesses have an opportunity to build themselves as well as their community.”

“Leaving a legacy of skills along with a state-of-the-art healthcare facility is extremely exciting and this is something to really keep an eye on.  Opening career opportunities, driving diversity and upskilling our current workforce and making a real difference.”

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