The call of the wild is going out to young people, tangata whenua, and those affected by COVID-19, with UCOL and Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre announcing new training for protecting and conserving our native taonga.
The Te Kura Tapere: Certificate in Introductory Conservation will launch on 23 November and is designed to give locals a perfect opportunity to see if a career in the bush is for them. The eight week programme will be taught on-site at Pūkaha, with their experts and UCOL lecturers collaborating together.
“Our phone has been ringing hot already, with people looking for us to create jobs and training in this sector,” says Emily Court, General Manager of Pūkaha. “It’s been in development for the last year, alongside the creation of our education centre – but with the effects of COVID-19 rippling through our communities, we knew kicking this course off sooner rather than later was the right thing to do.
“We’re especially interested in offering opportunities to our Māori community and locals who have a strong connection to the area. This is a chance to learn about our precious wildlife and flora, and build a career conserving our backyard. Developing a strong connection with the whenua is a big part of why we exist as an organisation, and we’re so excited to see this get started.”
Pūkaha are also offering two $500 scholarships to support their initial students – one for a student with Rangitāne whakapapa, and another for someone who has been affected by the COVID-19 downturn.
“This year has been a tough one, but education pathways like this are exactly how our communities can prepare for a brighter, more resilient future,” says UCOL Wairarapa Acting Director, Ruth Barnes. “Our unique spaces and their conservation is the bedrock of New Zealand’s identity – it will always have a place in our economy. However, not many people hear about the opportunities in this sector. This programme will change that, and to offer it alongside Pūkaha, with their amazing reputation and expertise, is the cherry on top.”
Students interested in this programme, and its scholarships, can find details on UCOL’s website.