Rangatahi in Roskill Development are getting on the tools to help build warm and dry new homes in their community through a work experience programme facilitated by Kāinga Ora alongside local high schools.
Onsite work experience facilitated by Kāinga Ora provided students from Mt Albert Grammar and Lynfield College the opportunity to help build homes for their neighbours and work towards their future careers.
Senior-student work experience is part of the Construction Plus programme, which was established by Kāinga Ora in 2019. Construction Plus helps local communities impacted by urban development, by connecting people with training, employment and industry opportunities. For students, Construction Plus is an option offered as part of the Gateway programme, which is designed to support school students' transition into the workforce.
Last term, year 12 Mt Albert Grammar School students Luca Thomson and Charlie Allen both completed 10-week Construction Plus work experience stints on a site which will deliver 44 long-term rental apartments on New North Road, in Roskill Development’s Ōwairaka neighbourhood. The site is being developed by New Ground Capital and Mike Greer Commercial on behalf of Hapai Housing and is expected to be complete mid next year.
Luca and Charlie, both 17, also study building and construction as part of their academic work. The friends spent Wednesdays in term 2 on site, starting work at the same time as the team from build partner Mike Greer Commercial and its subcontractors.
Project Manager, Ian Dennis says, “We had them nailing plates, cutting timber, cutting flooring – doing exactly what the carpenters are doing, but closely supervised. Once we got a feel for what they were physically capable of and mentally capable of they did more, but we’re always working alongside them.” Ian says Charlie and Luca listened well and had the respect of their foreman. “They showed promise. They won’t have any trouble getting a job.”
Luca recommends the experience and says it has helped him prepare for his future career goals. “I am thinking of getting an apprenticeship next year, doing carpentry, so just getting some real work experience has been good. All the boys on site were very friendly and helpful. The course has been good socially and it has been good learning about structural components and the theory side to building.”
Charlie says his ambition is to be a builder. “I liked watching the process, seeing it all come together and seeing the finished product. I found the work experience pretty fun. I learned a lot of new things from being able to do hands-on experience. The guys on site were really nice. I enjoy physical work and actually doing things and not sitting at a desk all day. It’s 100 percent worth doing.”
Karen Caso, Gateway coordinator for Mt Albert Grammar School, says she can see a sense of accomplishment and pride in the students. “Construction Plus is new to the school this year and we’d love to do it again. I have been at the school for two years and I would say it’s the best success.”
Lynfield College student, Arlo Halloran (17) spent a day a week for three weeks working with Neilston Homes on a group of eight terrace houses in Range View Road, Ōwairaka.
“It was a good experience. I learned what it’s like to work on a site and what goes into the day,” says Arlo. “I enjoyed meeting everyone. Everyone was really friendly and helpful and I enjoyed helping out on all the jobs.” Arlo says the experience has helped him figure out what he wants to do when he completes year 13 this year and he has decided to go for “the building trade or electrical, but probably building.”
“It was great to get Arlo onto the construction site,” says Gerard Costello, General Manager at Neilston Homes. “When you’re still at secondary school and contemplating what career you want to embark on, it can be very daunting. It’s a big decision, and often you have only a basic understanding of what that career really entails. That’s why this work experience programme is so valuable – students can get an understanding of what it’s like to work on a building site and get exposure to a variety of trades and roles. Now that Arlo has undertaken the programme it has added value to his skill set and made him more employable in the future.”
Kāinga Ora Construction Plus Programme Manager Nigel Chandra says that so far, eight students from the Roskill Development area – at Mt Albert Grammar, Mt Roskill Grammar and Lynfield College – have been through the work experience programme.
“Importantly, work experience offers students employability skills. “That’s turning up on site, being able to communicate, follow instructions, and do what’s asked of them.”
Nigel says the advantages of work experience for students are immense. “Number one, it's firsthand experience and hearing from the experts in the middle of the action. Our developments are big developments and there's a whole lot happening. So besides coming in to do practical work, they also get insights into urban development and the different career pathways with sub trades on one big project. You can read about things, but if you're in the middle of the action, you actually see what's happening and the whole process of what happens on a site. Following on from the programme's success we’re hoping to run the work experience programme again in Roskill, as well as across our other large scale projects in Auckland.”