Aaron studied the New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Level 3) as part of the He Toki Pre-Trade Training programme. He Toki is a collaborative indigenous model of education that brings together iwi, industry, educational institutions, community organisations and government agencies.
Aaron Jones is proud to have received a Rūnaka scholarship for his contributions to community and rangatahi.
“It is an honour,” says Aaron, whose whakapapa connects back to Puketeraki Marae and Ngāi Tahu.
Aaron is studying the New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Level 3) as part of the He Toki Pre-Trade Training programme.
Delivered by Otago Polytechnic and Ara Institute, He Toki is a collaborative indigenous model of education that brings together iwi, industry, educational institutions, community organisations and government agencies.
"I am at the beginning of my course in the carpentry trade, so am currently learning the foundations. We have just started to build a house, which is a great way to put the theory into practice.
"There has been incredible support within the Otago Polytechnic crew and the course."
“I grew up in Auckland, as did my dad. When my wife and I relocated to Dunedin it felt like I was coming back home. A special moment was walking around Karitane with my wife and 1-year-old daughter.”
“Only in the last three years have I gone on a journey of reconnecting with my whakapapa. It was great to find a photo of one of my great-grandads, William Harper, in Toitu Otago Settlers Museum. His wife was Mere Harper, who helped found Plunket in Karita”
He Toki Student
Studied the New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Level 3)
“After school I entered into the world of youth work, which I have been heavily involved in for the last 10 years, mostly working with vulnerable young people in south Auckland. I spent the last three years working as a youth worker in South Dunedin," he says.
Aaron also has previous experience running a small business, and says he looks forward to combining the skills of his past with the skills he is learning now.
A highlight of his studies so far has been the support shown by his peers and lecturers, particularly during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“I was so impressed with how everyone supported one another, especially our class lecturers, Mark and Will, who provided solid learning and kept us busy over that period."
And, he says, there are great systems to support students who may be struggling.
"It really does feel like a big family. Our He Toki class starts and finishes the day with a karakia, which brings us together and also gives us that space to slow down and refocus. Also, the team at Te Punaka Owheo has provided more connection - as well as some kai."
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