Tupe Ake Programme Teaches Forestry Skills

23 September 2019

Tupe Ake Programme Teaches Forestry Skills

The second group of students to complete forestry qualifications through a newly-launched collaboration graduated at NorthTec last Friday.

The 25 students, who are all employees of FPS (Forestry Protection Services), received their formal qualifications from the newly launched Tupu Ake programme.

They were supported by family and friends, as well as special guests Hon Kelvin Davis, MP for Te Tai Tokerau; Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Forestry; Sheryl Mai, Mayor of Whangarei and many other representatives from the forest industry.

Forest Protection Services (FPS) is a Whangarei-based silviculture and forest protection company. In 2018, FPS launched the Tupu Ake employment and training programme, in partnership with NorthTec, Te Matarau, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development and Hancock Forest Management Ltd, to ensure best possible expertise and support is provided for students to complete the programme.

Hon Kelvin Davis congratulated the students for their hard work. He said: “We are here today because we believe in you. Thank you for your hard work and for what you’re doing for our country. As a former teacher and principal, I know how important education is and I hope you go on to lead the way in Forestry and keep pursuing education.”

Journee Houston graduated with a New Zealand Certificate in Forest Industry Foundation Skills Level 2. She says being in the forest industry is in her blood: “A lot of my family is in the forest industry so I am proud to be able to work in their footsteps. I’ve never really been able to stick to a job before this, but I really like being outdoors and doing physical activity, I’ve got a real passion for it so it makes it easy to turn up every day.

“There is so much support for you during this programme, there is a whole team dedicated to pastoral support to help you while you study with general life skills. I’m definitely going on to start my level 3 qualification and from there I’ll keep going and learn heavy machinery.”

Tupu Ake provides students the qualifications needed in the forest industry while offering full-time employment at FPS. The programme is aimed at students aged between 15 and 24. Madeline Havenar, Training and Development Manager for FPS, says this programme is about nurturing the new generation of forestry workers to set a standard of quality training for the industry.

“The programme give these young people a job straight away so they know what they are getting into and they get the practical experience they need as well as the theory. It makes a big difference that they have that security. It takes away a lot of personal barriers that young people have.”

Tama Hill completed the Tupu Ake programme, gaining both the New Zealand Certificate in Forest Industry Foundation Skills Level 2 and the New Zealand Certificate in Forest Operations Level 3. He says he didn’t really like school very much so left and came straight into this programme.

He said: “I started in June last year and I have now completed my level 2 and Level 3 qualifications. This programme has taught me how to do the job safely and I was happy to be able to study and work at the same time. My family has really helped me through this, I don’t think I could have done it without them!”

Kevin Ihaka, Managing Director of FPS, says the Tupu Ake programme is a great example of the provincial growth fund delivering real outcomes for the region.

“In the past, we have struggled to put in place the necessary support systems and time to ensure such high levels of success from training programmes in a commercial environment.”

Mr Ihaka says, “We have come a long way with this programme and now it is time to look to the future and how we can build this programme into a business as usual programme instead of a single pilot programme.”

Phil Nikora, NorthTec’s Forestry Academic Lead, congratulated all the students on their achievements, and also praised FPS who chose to invest in their staff through formal on-the-job training.

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