Construction of the new $ 14 million South Waikato Trades Training Center in Tokoroa received official blessing from Raukawa kaumātua Te Hapuku Rikiriki and Poihaere Barrett in a ceremony attended by representatives of various cultures today of the district.
Raukawa Charitable Trust Tumu Whakarae (Managing Director) Maria Te Kanawa said it was a momentous opportunity for the iwi to bless the site at the corner of State Highway 1 and Chambers St at the northern entrance to Tokoroa.
“The trades training center will allow many rangatahi from south Waikato to train here in Tokoroa without having to leave the district without the support of their whānau.
Over 80 people attended the blessing, including officials from Raukawa and South Waikato District Council and representatives from local Pasifika communities and local schools.
The South Waikato Trades Training Center and an adjacent office building are funded by SWIFT, a community-owned economic development fund dedicated to the prosperity of South Waikato, with grants from the Provincial Growth Fund, Trust Waikato and of SWIFT.
SWIFT Chairman Bruce Sherman said the Trades Training Center is being developed alongside the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, which will be the training provider. The Center will welcome up to 500 students per year.
“We have strongly encouraged traders and building suppliers in South Waikato to bid for this work to help the local economy and provide employment and learning opportunities.”
The center will be a 3,500 m2 combined learning space, four workshops and a staff area with a commercial kitchen, cafe and hairdressing salon. It will also have a space dedicated to a digital and entrepreneurial hub to help reduce the digital divide and help young people create their own businesses.
South Waikato District Council Mayor Jenny Shattock said the new trades training center was a great example of the education, business and local government sectors of South Waikato working together to help the district to prosper and grow economically and socially.
“The center’s location near State Highway 1 will provide a fabulous new gateway to the north entrance to Tokoroa and complement the recent downtown redevelopment.
“This event is a key milestone as we stop to reflect on how far we have come so far and to receive Raukawa’s blessing for the journey ahead to educate local people for their professional future.”
Toi Ohomai Board Chair Catherine Cooney said the new campus will help bring the community to life and it was exciting to see this initiative come to fruition after all the planning.
Cooney acknowledged the collaborative work that took place behind the scenes and said she was honored to be part of the site’s blessing ceremony.
“This campus will allow more students to develop their skills in the community. Local employers need more skilled workers and this new campus will help close that gap.
“We look forward to seeing construction progress and once opened, to help provide a skilled workforce to see this great community thrive.”
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