A Lecturer on UCOL’s new Marae-based Certificate in Vocational Skills (Introductory) programme has picked up an award for his work with youth.
Daniel Fonotia was presented with a 2016 Make a Difference Award by Palmerston North City Mayor Grant Smith in May as an acknowledgement of contribution made for young people in the community.
On its Facebook page, the Palmy Youth Network says, "Daniel is a UCOL Lecturer who delivers a relatively new, marae based Vocational Skills programme offering a new approach to learning for young people."
"The programme is based on the concept of 'Te Whare Tapa Whā and provides foundation literacy, numeracy and study skills; and vocational skills, focusing on helping individuals become aware of who they are and learn about themselves."
"Daniel emphasises the need to walk alongside students to promote belonging and ensure they're comfortable. This focused learning environment with a strong cultural base is sure to make a positive impact in our community."
Mr Fonotia says he was blown away with the award, and continues to enjoy working with youth. "I enjoy the challenge – building those relationships with young people, which a lot of people think is hard."
"I like to use my own life experience to relate to young people but also to guide them in a positive direction," he says. "I hope to be able to broaden their vision and give them a taste of what the world can offer them."
"I want to give them the opportunity to just be kids – so many youth have had to take responsibilities, and experience tragedy, but it's everyone's right to experience being a young person."
Mr Fonotia says he hopes that in his work at UCOL he can give young people a positive view of education. "Hopefully later on in their lives they're successful; their commitment to study this year is a great start. It's just about being a positive influence really."
Fourteen awards were given out at the Youth Week event. The current President of the Association of Students at UCOL (AS@U) also received a Make a Difference Award.
Read more on the launch of the Certificate in Vocational Skills (Introductory) programme here.