Māori youth upskill through Electricity Supply Apprenticeship programme

By Taroi Black

An apprentice programme is helping Māori youth to upskill themselves, and get paid for it.  Mighty River Power is supporting youth in Hamilton through its Electricity Supply Apprenticeship programme.

At 18 years of age Tane Te Riini is shaping out his future.

Since the beginning of this year, Tane has been part of a thriving program under Mighty River Power "The Electricity Supply Apprentice Programme".

Te Riini says, “I want to work on power stations.  Maybe I go somewhere around the world. I don't know, go travelling and see what's out there.”

Dan Stewart believes that apprenticeships can be a great alternative for rangatahi Māori to upskill and trade.

Stewart says, “There isn't a great deal of info out in the community for high school student’s people who are leaving school.”

For secondary school students who aren’t thriving in a typical classroom environment, the Waikato Trades Academy is a practical way to learn and earn at the same time.

“We need to change the perception in the wider community that a trade is something that people who are less academically inclined move into when it's actually an attractive proposition for any kind of person,” says Stewart.

Narelle Phillips is doing just that, measuring out her success.

Phillips says, “I'm not really a big theory person. So I pick up my learning by doing.”

While the pressure for seeking employment increases, trades will in the future play a big role for the next generation.