Students will travel long distance for trade quals

By Mānia Clarke

The Māori and Pacific Trades Training initiative is attracting more Māori, even if it means travelling hundreds of kilometres per week.  

Renata Pullen-Burry says the journey from Taranaki to complete his trade qualification in Auckland is worth the sacrifice.

Pullen-Burry is driven to attain his aspirations for his whānau.

“I travel up from Taranaki.  So I travel up every Tuesday, stay with my sister out in Māngere and then pretty much soon as I finish class on Friday I travel home.  My main sacrifice is just being away from my two children and my partner,” he says.

Over 800 Māori and Pacific trainees are part of MPTT Auckland.  200 trainees including Pullen-Burry will receive a $6,500 scholarship to complete their trade electrical engineering qualifications and receive mentoring employment support.

“It's about reaching out to those in the regions to come to the city and enrol into these sorts of initiatives, to work together,” says elder Sir Pita Sharples.

“This group is essential for helping tradespeople out on their own”.

“It's a stepping stone to a bigger [goal], like- they help me to get in, I've got to do the mahi, so do the mahi get the treats,” says Pullen-Burry.

In 2014, the National government invested $43mil into the MPTT initiative.  However, four years later the construction industry is still calling out for more trades people.

“Start with construction, but then you've got electricians, plumbers, air-con and refrigeration, welding and fabrication, automotive, and then all those people need to eat.  So we've got hospitality, the service sectors all of those sectors need a skilled work force,” says Project Manager Kirk Sargent.

Pullen-Burry expects to be working as apprentice electrician next year.