Working together brings opportunity for Māori and Pasifika students

Wintec hospitality tutor Marco Guimaraes and Wintec Māori and Pasifika Trade Training work broker Kaleo Benavides are creating new opportunities for Māori and Pasifika students.

Wintec hospitality tutor Marco Guimaraes and Wintec Māori and Pasifika Trade Training work broker Kaleo Benavides are creating new opportunities for Māori and Pasifika students.

Māori and Pasifika student achievement is going from strength to strength at Wintec and some of this success is the result of staff finding new ways for education and industry to work together.

Kaleo Benavides is a Māori and Pasifika Trade Training (MPTT) work broker, who works with a team of seven staff at Wintec to assist with employer opportunities for students under the government-led training initiative. Marco Guimaraes is a Wintec hospitality tutor who teaches food and beverage students and arranges work-based learning for them.

“We need to get students industry-ready so we can guarantee they get a job,” says Marco.

“When they qualify,” says Kaleo, “We’re working to place our Māori and Pasifika students in employment.” 

They realised they were working towards the same goal, to gain real-world experiences for students through work-based learning and work placement.

“I said Kaleo, we’re doing the same thing!” says Marco. 

“So we’ve been working together, sharing our portfolio of contacts and creating more valuable experiences for students and our employers.”

Kaleo says the MPTT programme encourages young Māori and Pasifika students to take up a trade and it's best known to help meet some of the emerging shortages in construction and infrastructure trades. However, it also applies to a wide range of trades like hairdressing and hospitality.

“Maori and Pasifika success is a team effort, we see how we can get students into placement so we can create success through education and industry working together.”

This year 35 students enrolled at Wintec under the MPTT programme to study food and beverage, and hospitality qualifications.

Marco says work experience enables these learners to develop skills for sustainable employment and achieve better employment outcomes.

The pair visit potential hospitality employers together.

“It’s important we ask our employers and our students ‘What does it take to be successful?’” says Marco.

“We send our students out and we want it to be a good experience for everyone.

“We follow through with check-ups during and after placement and ask for feedback, and we take their feedback back to the classroom so we can prepare students for what industry wants.”

“I tell our students I can teach you the skills but I cannot be you,” adds Marco.

“So we work to arm them with the soft skills they need like teamwork, developing empathy, interrelationships skills and multicultural understanding, and they go out and bring their workplace learning back to the classroom.”

Recently Kaleo worked with the hospitality team to host a dinner at Wintec’s Windows Restaurant. Around 42 guests, who included employers, community leaders and careers advisors, Wintec staff got together to celebrate the Māori Pasifika Trades Training programme. Kaleo says a highlight was hosting a former student who had recently completed his electrical engineering certificate and had started an apprenticeship.

“We want to say thank you to everyone involved for believing in what we do,” he says.

The number of Māori and Pasifika students is growing steadily at Wintec and in 2017, 27% of Wintec students identified as Māori or Pasifika.

About MPTT
Māori and Pasifika Trades Training (MPTT) funding provides fees-free tertiary places for Māori and Pasifika learners aged between 16 and 40 to achieve in pre-trades training and progress to sustainable trades or trades-related employment (including New Zealand Apprenticeships), other successful industry training programmes at Level 3 and above on the New Zealand Qualification Framework (NZQF), and managed apprenticeships. 

Find out more about MPTT at Wintec.

Find out more about studying Hospitality at Wintec.

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Wintec's kitchens paying it back to the community.

Wintec trades students make kohanga kids' day

Two generations of one family study business together.