A group of students on a Construction course at UCOL have built a new hut for the Kohuturoa Marae urupā (cemetery) in just five days total.
The cohort, made up of 10 community-based offenders managed by Palmerston North Community Corrections, have been studying on a Foundation Construction course run by UCOL to provide students with building skills and a taster of what it could be like to work in construction.
The group has been working as a team on the project in UCOL's timber yard each Friday for five weeks, supervised by a community work supervisor and tutored by UCOL Lecturer and Licensed Building Practitioner Mike Fogarty.
UCOL Head of School of Construction and Engineering, Danny Reilly, says the hut will be used to store materials for the upkeep of the urupā.
"These students have done a very good job building something from scratch as a team in a short timeframe and it's great that the community is able to benefit from it."
Sponsored by Wirihana Whānau Trust, the hut build project came about as a result of Palmerston North Community Corrections expanding the work and living skills programmes available to offenders and introducing them to Te Ao Māori practices.
"The students now have a knowledge of health and safety and basic building techniques, and an idea of whether the building industry is for them," Mr Reilly says.
The Foundation Construction course at UCOL in Palmerston North was delivered via the Government's Adult and Community Education (ACE) fund.
"Our Community Education and Employment Officer worked with UCOL to establish a relationship that benefits everyone involved including the community. The result is a great project that not only develops skills for offenders, it also gives them an opportunity to give back to the community in a meaningful way," says Dean Wilson, Service Manager, Palmerston North Community Corrections.
With the course now completed, a blessing of the hut at the Marae urupā will took place today (Friday 2nd December) at 12.30pm.
UCOL is taking enrolments now for a Foundation Construction course to run in Wairarapa from 12-16 December, open to any member of the public.