Whitireia and WelTec provides local young people with wrap around support and continuity in a Covid world

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Whitireia and WelTec Chief Executive Mark Oldershaw is encouraging school leavers to ‘learn local’, and consider the benefits of vocational or degree-level training in their region.

“With NCEA results out this week, school leavers are considering their next steps. A strong grounding in vocational education can open doors and accelerate career progression,” says Mr Oldershaw.

“The uncertainty of Covid-19 can make it difficult for prospective ākonga to commit to a study pathway, which is why Whitireia and WelTec are focused on providing programmes that will continue regardless of lockdowns and are flexible enough to cater for different students' learning needs.”

Many programmes currently don’t require student fees due to the Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF), Māori and Pasifika Trades Training (MPTT), Fees Free, and scholarships. Demand from employers for these skills is strong as we recover from Covid-19.

Whitireia and WelTec are fully integrated into local communities and proud to offer specialised support for Māori and Pacific ākonga with dedicated teams on campus and online.

“It’s important to support ākonga success and participation with an environment that meets their cultural, spiritual, and academic needs,” says Mark Oldershaw.

Tautoko mā ngā ākonga Māori is an important aspect of this. The Tamaiti Whāngai team provides mentoring, pastoral, cultural and academic support to ākonga Māori at WelTec, while Te Wananga Māori support ākonga at Whitireia. Iwi partnerships with Ngāti Toa Rangatira and Te Ātiawa also contribute strongly to identity.

Pacific students are also a vital part of community life at Whitireia and WelTec. Pacific engagement advisors are  available across all campuses and online to provide study support, advocacy, pastoral care, and cultural support for Pacific students throughout their learning journey.

Recently established is Wai Ora, a primary mental health and hauora service specifically designed to address the needs of Māori and Pacific ākonga across our three campusesCo-ordinator Tangimoana Te Moananui is a qualified nurse who has worked in mental health and community settings.

Whitireia and WelTec’s learning support team play a key role in supporting ākonga and removing any barriers that may stop students from successfully completing their studies. Engagement, Learning, and Disability advisors are always available to work individually with ākonga to address their needs. Equally, our online library facilities are available 24/7.

Throughout lockdowns the team also organise online events such as quizzes and games, ensuring ākonga remain connected and able to experience the important social aspect of study.

“Flexible online delivery offers certainty to ākonga, particularly in the instance of lockdowns or Covid restrictions that can make physical attendance impossible,” says Mr Oldershaw.

“It’s important that students aren’t caught short in their learning in the instance of a lockdown. Our tutors and programme managers have worked really hard to ensure that in this instance we can implement a smooth transition to remote learning.”

There are still opportunities for prospective ākonga to enrol at Whitireia and WelTec in 2022 and find their life-changing qualification. Explore programmes enrolling now at whitireiaweltec.ac.nz or talk to the friendly advisors on 0800 935 832 (WelTec) or 0800 944 847 (Whitireia).

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