WorkSafe New Zealand and UCOL are teaming up with a new learning initiative that helps construction students further develop their skills in assessing and managing work risks.
The Kia Oho Ake pilot is a health and safety education initiative by WorkSafe. WorkSafe inspectors will join UCOL students in the classroom to help them learn how to safely identify, assess, and manage work risks, as well as strategies for communicating concerns onsite.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for UCOL and we're thrilled for our students to learn directly from the experts at Worksafe," says Sylvie Hickton, UCOL's Health & Safety Manager. "This pilot will enable our students to be more knowledgeable and prepared, and these additional learning experiences are going to be helpful when they're applying for jobs. In turn, our local employers will benefit by getting graduates who already have these skills, and are ready to get stuck in and contribute to any construction site."
UCOL construction students learn with WorkSafe New Zealand Inspector Jen O'Donnell.
Wairarapa's first workshop kicked off last week, with 19 students taking part. Student Daniel Ries, who is hoping to make tiny homes in future, enjoyed the session. "I think it was a good session – it was good to take the time to focus on safety, to reflect on how we can do it better. We did lots of tasks and games then worked in groups to discuss it all. I think it will help us be a more conscious and think more thoroughly."
Construction students across three UCOL campuses will be taking part, with programmes in Horowhenua and Manawatū as well. In total 74 students will be taking part.
Workshops will be held throughout the year, building students' health and safety knowledge as they develop their construction skills.
"Everything we're doing in this space just proves how important it is that vocational education gives learners the skills that industry is demanding," says Danny Reilly, UCOL's Executive Dean Engineering & Applied Technologies. "WorkSafe have said that the construction sector is a key focus for them, and our graduates will be helping make sites safer."