A marae-based programme offering a new approach to learning will be launched in the Manawatū next month.
The programme, Te Pōkaitahi Pūkenga ā Ringa (Certificate in Vocational Skills), is built on a firm foundation of practical learning, with a focus on what works for youth.
UCOL Acting Executive Dean Humanities and Business Sue Ireland says UCOL has listened to new ways of delivering education, in ways that resonate with young people.
"Taking the first step into tertiary education can be scary and our relationship with Kauwhata Marae has offered the opportunity to introduce a setting, different to a classroom, in which students can be more comfortable with their learning experience," she says.
"The relationship with Kauwhata Marae will be an integral part of the study experience. Tikanga is part of the tauira (student) learning alongside vocational pathway subjects."
The programme will prepare tauira for work or more study. The course material helps students develop capability in a chosen range of vocational areas and, at the same time, gain credits towards the National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA).
Vocational pathways on offer this year are sports coaching and fitness and Ngā Kete o te Wānanga, catering within a marae. Starting at the Kauwhata Marae in Feilding from February this year, it is a six month Level 2 programme.
Potential specialist areas for the future include Automotive, Agriculture, Construction, Electrical and Related Trades, Forestry, Hair and Beauty Services, Horticulture, Hospitality, Business Administration, Manufacturing and Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Primary Industry, Early Childhood Education, Maori Tourism, Service Industries, Social and Community Services.
Students will be based primarily at the marae and spend some time each week at UCOL's Palmerston North campus. UCOL hopes this partnership will mark the start of other similar partnerships across the UCOL region.
Lecturer on the Vocational Skills programme, Daniel Fonotia, says the delivery approach will be holistic.
"The course will be based on the concept of 'Te Whare Tapa Whā', and will centre on the needs of tauira. As well as providing students with foundation literacy, numeracy and study skills; and vocational skills, there will be a focus on helping tauira become aware of who they are and learn about themselves."
"It will be an activity focused learning environment with a strong cultural base. It will be about walking alongside the students so they feel comfortable and know they belong," he says.
The programme was developed by the Rotorua based polytechnic Waiariki Institute of Technology, and has been running successfully there.
Enrolments are open now for the Certificate in Vocational Skills delivered by UCOL, starting February.