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Jonas Te Aho: Kaiako - Construction

It’s been a tough year for aspiring builders but Jonas Te Aho has still placed half his tauira into industry positions.

Jonas teaches the 38-week NZ Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Carpentry) at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa (Gisborne) and says along with coping with lockdowns because of COVID-19, simply getting materials has been a challenge this year.'

“It’s been our toughest year ever for us, definately,” he says.

“The national lockdowns and especially the Auckland lockdown has affected major supply chains and material delays have a ripple effect, but we make adjustments.”

Throughout the year Jonas and his students build a house, which is sold off at the end of the year, but material delays have slowed progress significantly this year, he says.

Jonas has taught the programme for five years and has placed 37 tauira into apprenticeships or other fulltime employment but says he’s no one-man-band.

“We have an awesome team here at Whirikoka, particularly Simon Stott our kaiawhina, he plays a significant role in ensuring our tauira have the best support possible.”

Some of the first tauira he taught are nearing the end of their apprenticeships, while others take a bit of time after the course to decide which direction they want to go it.

“One of the girls we had has been doing kitchen joinery for about four years now.”

Tharin Cox Peratiaki completed the course last year and is now working fulltime for Dawsons Building Co in Gisborne.

He says the course gave him the skills and Jonas gave him the right attitude to succeed in the industry.

“It prepared me quite well, I had a foot in the door before others,” he says.

“Before the building course I was at the meat works, in the feezers, and I got sick of that. My mother-in-law saw the building course at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and my brother-in-law and I did it together and I found my love for it.

“Towards the end of the course I was doing work experience, one day a week with Dawsons. Then we graduated and now I’m fulltime with Dawsons, they’re one of the main companies here in Gisborne. We’ve got heaps of work on.”

Tharin says the way Jonas teaches mirrors the workplace well.

“He taught us to be how he would want us to be in the workforce and we have to live up to that because if we don’t it reflects on his reputation as well. He involves everyone in the course and doesn’t single individuals out. He’s an awesome tutor.”

Tharin also benefited from the Māori and Pacific Trades Training programme, which covers course fees along with providing a tool grant to graduates, and says it’s a worthwhile course for anyone considering a career in the industry.

“If you’re thinking about it, I’d say give it a crack.”
he already has people keen on enrolling for next year and with the amount of work on, there are plenty of opportunities, even with the impact of COVID-19.

“Gisborne is going off but it’s the same everywhere. People are crying out in Hawkes Bay and in Tauranga but a lot of tauria are choosing to stay in Gisborne because they think its a safer option.”

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Published On: 29 November 2021

Article By: Tracey Cooper



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