Having the ability and the aptitude to react quickly to changes in community circumstances and demands around education is critical to our CEC projects. For Te Hā o Mātauranga | Learning in Kaikōura, navigating the educational and employment changes after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Kaikoura in November 2016 was essential in ensuring their community had the capacity and capabilities to become part of the rebuild.
For Kaikoura whānau, the earthquake not only destroyed road and rail links, demolished houses, ripped up roads and railways and sent acres of land hurtling into the sea from massive landslides, it also displaced many community members out of work as the fishing, tourism and hospitality industries became temporarily redundant.
In its infancy at the time, CEC project Te Hā o Mātauranga saw the need to quickly support and upskill community members who were struggling to gain employment. They partnered with Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu to provide the He Toki Step Up programme, a short course aimed at helping participants achieve the minimum credentials to access employment opportunities after the quake. Together, the partners recruited 17 participants, who received training in civil construction alongside ‘soft skills’ of career planning, CV writing and interview skills. All participants were able to access driver licensing training and tests. This in itself was a huge task which required significant forward planning, not least of all because the lack of traffic lights made it impossible to sit a test in Kaikoura, and access to towns in which a drivers licence test could be taken was severely restricted by road damage.
Altogether, of the 14 participants who completed the programme, 8 found full time. employment after the short programme, 5 of these in jobs created after the earthquake. A further three participants continued with part time work, and two returned to school.
In the two years since the earthquakes, Te Hā o Mātauranga has continued to offer the community of Kaikoura the mix of practical skills, soft skills and competencies required by the future working environment, alongside the community planning and goal setting needed for communities to flourish, and in doing so play an important role in helping to connect their community with education and learning for the 21st century.