Chantelle Tuanau at the Ucol campus this week. PHOTO/KAREN COLTMAN

KAREN COLTMAN
karen.coltman@age.co.nz

The government offer of two years of no fees for trades training is one reason Chantelle Tuanau has decided to embark on a six-month Wairarapa Ucol business course.

Tuanau is enrolled in the NZ Certificate in Business [Administration and Technology] Level 4 and she starts on July 20.

She is doing the course so she can get on with establishing her own clothes making business. She has five children and her eldest son wears XXL size clothes. She said she was finding it hard to get clothes that fit him. Her sewing work was a driver to start the course.

“The course will give me some business operations skills and help me kick-start a home business,” she said. “Having no fees is just so great for me right now.”

Tuanau works in hospitality and has had her hours reduced post-lockdown so needed to make savings, she said.

“I am keen to sew to help other mums sort out clothes for their larger children. And this way I can also supplement my income.”

Ucol chief of operations, Linda Sissons said the government’s free fee offer was a “golden opportunity for New Zealanders wanting to get ahead”.

“Employers, apprentices, and future learners will greatly benefit from the helping hand.

“People may be looking for a new job, or ways to gain new skills that relate to a job, and having that offer of fees free and the potential that learning a trade can bring, will be invaluable to many people in our region.”

Primary industries, carpentry, construction, automotive engineering, health and well-being, social and community services, and mechanical engineering are some of the Ucol courses that have fees free, both at certificate and diploma level.

Ucol’s head of trades Danny Reilly said the tertiary education institute works closely with Industry Training Organisations. This can involve Ucol assessing work on the job site, a trainee coming to Ucol for block courses, completing workbooks at home, and attending night class once a week.