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‘Giving hope and a job for our young people’

ManaiaSAFE Forestry School was hit hard by the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic as it had just scaled up from one training crew to three.

Managing director Henry Koia said when lockdown hit, the company was forced to shut down two of its forestry crews, and this came at a significant financial cost.

The school has been awarded $180,000 through the Government's $50m Maori Trades and Training Fund which was part of the Government's Covid-19 response and recovery package in Budget 2020.

ManaiaSAFE Forestry School is the strategic business unit of Train Me Quality Services, which has been contracted by EIT for the past two years to deliver their programme of study for the New Zealand Certificate in Forest Harvesting Operations with Strands qualification.

The school received a contract fee for delivering the training but this did not cover full costs of the training delivery, Mr Koia said.

“The shortfall is usually covered by the school's logging crew that services a harvesting contract with Ernslaw One to help pay for the training while providing a real-world hands-on training environment.

“At the time we scaled up our operations, we had no idea that Covid would come along and pull the rug out from under our feet. The Government's support through its Maori Trades and Training Fund will help us get back on our feet so we can keep giving hope and a job to our young people.”

Mr Koia says the funding will be used to provide intensive pastoral care to six rangatahi (young people) to support their success in achieving a NZQA qualification, job placement, and then six months of continued intensive pastoral care to support the graduates and their transition into employment.