The students were participating in the Kāinga Ora Construction Plus Mahi Ora programme – whereby secondary school students spend their holidays working on large-scale urban development projects around Auckland.

Construction Plus aims to help communities impacted by urban development works, by connecting people with training, employment, and industry opportunities.

This April, students from Northcote College, Aorere College, Onehunga High School, Lynfield College and Tamaki College operated diggers (under careful supervision), learned about health and safety on a building site, and discovered how to install a silt fence.

For 16-year-old Edward Vitale from Aorere College, two weeks at a Mangere West development site reinforced his plans to pursue a career in construction.

“It is better than I expected to be honest. I just need to get more experience from the experienced people around. They are teaching us all the different jobs there are. I’m pretty sure I would like to work here.” Edward said.

Edward’s first on-site task was helping to install a silt fence to contain erosion, and he appreciated the bigger picture behind each project.

“Growing up as a kid I watched builders demolish older houses to build new warm homes for families,” he said.

Seventeen-year-old Caleb Phillips from Lynfield College hopes to be an engineer one day. He used his experience at the Kāinga Ora Ōwairaka Development to understand what it would be like to be an engineer on a construction site.

“I have learned heaps about the processes that go on around the work site, especially the health and safety measures that go unnoticed by the public,” Caleb said.

Operating a digger on site at the Northcote Development was a highlight for 17-year-old Northcote College twins Zane and Trent Brookes. Zane enjoyed this part of the work experience immensely.

“I learnt how to move the bucket and scoop up a lot of dirt. I also learnt to safely park the bucket before speaking with anyone outside the digger,” Zane says.

“It’s quite exciting that stuff. It’s something I have wanted to do for a while, to learn how to operate a machine like that.”

His brother Trent agrees the experience was a positive one, during which he learned a lot.

The twins recently shifted from an older Kāinga Ora home in Lake Road, Northcote, which was removed to make room from more warm and dry homes.

Since it was established in November 2019, 28 students from schools across Tamaki Makarau have been involved with the Construction Plus Mahi Ora programme.

Read more about the Kāinga Ora Construction Plus Mahi Ora and other training programmes.

L-R Top: Alfred, Caleb, Charm. Middle: Edward, Junior, Kereama. Bottom: Trent, Zane, Zinzan

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Page updated: 9 June 2022