Ellesmere College Gateway students were beaming with excitement when they recently joined a chainsaw course offered through Ellesmere Sustainable Agriculture Inc (ESAI).
The course was organised by ESAI’s Project Tinaku team and drew so many participants from within the ESAI membership, the wider community and Ellesmere College that the organisers had to expand the courses over two days.
“The chainsaw course has been great,” said Gateway student Caitlin Stewart.
“I have learned so much, especially considering I didn’t know anything about chainsaws until today.”
This month’s courses are the first part of a two-day training programme in w
hich the participants learn about health & safety while using a chainsaw, as well as maintenance, sharpening, correct operation and how to carry out some practical basic cuts.
The participants will return in a few weeks to carry out the second half of the course before receiving their NCEA unit standards.
College student Caitlin said that she wanted to be a dairy farmer and that the course would help her learn skills that will help her be a better farmer in the future.
“And we are really thankful to ESAI for enabling us to do this course.”
ESAI last year supported six Ellesmere College students through the Gateway programme and this year has increased their support to 10 new students.
Gateway coordinator Zodie Bonnett said that the involvement from ESAI was vital to enable Ellesmere College to run the programme.
“The school has limited funding for this programme, so without the support from ESAI we would maybe be able to offer our students one course. But thanks to the funding from ESAI we can do a lot more courses, so we really appreciate the support.”
Gateway student Kaleb Cook explained that the Gateway programme for him was a pathway towards a career as a car mechanic.
“I’ve learned a lot of new skills that will hopefully make it easier for me to get an apprenticeship as a mechanic.”
Project Tinaku coordinator Jo Fearn works closely with the local schools and said that one of the key goals for Project Tinaku and ESAI is to promote careers in the rural sector and give young people the skills to pursue those careers.
“With that goal in mind, the Gateway programme is hugely important to us.”