Southern Institute of Technology’s commitment to growth at their Queenstown campus through offering a broader variety of programmes is underway, with the announcement Environmental Management will be available to study on campus from February 2022. New initiatives are being identified by SIT to support education development in Queenstown through collaborating with industry and community in the region. One such partnership yielding positive outcomes is between SIT Queenstown campus and Mana Tāhuna Charitable Trust; it has seen the introduction of an Environmental Management qualification at the Queenstown campus to assist in training Trust employees for work in their environmental management project, Te Wai Whakaata.
Mana Tāhuna CEO, Michael Rewi, said the Trust set up Te Wai Whakaata project to fulfil one of its roles in creating employment, re-skilling and training opportunities, part of the Trust’s function to provide support for Māori and Pasifika as a response to Covid-19, helping them to find new sources of work and allowing them to stay in the region. Te Wai Whakaata project is working in and around Lake Hayes, to improve water quality in the lake, provide new native planting and work on pest control. This supports the Trust’s environmental initiatives and to improve potential positive outcomes for the project staff they’re employing, the SIT collaboration provides a pathway to train staff, giving them an industry-recognised qualification, and assisting them in finding more employment opportunities within the environmental management field.
Mr Rewi said the project had already started with thirteen people currently employed, and they were encouraging all staff to participate in the course. “The reason is to not only to help create a passion for what they’re doing, it’s to build that capability into our team, so they know why they’re setting traps, why they’re planting that species of tree, that they have practical skills to plant a tree. We’re ensuring our employees are qualified with the technical knowledge of environmental management.” The New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Environmental Management)(Level 4), usually available through distance learning on SIT2LRN, is being tailored to suit its in-person delivery at SIT Queenstown campus, including incorporating local field trips to support student learning by providing in-the-field observation and experiences. Students will explore subjects like pest management and freshwater quality, giving them an increased knowledge to put into practice on the Lake Hayes project. Graduates will be well-positioned to work in the environmental management sector and may be able to undertake entry-level/assistant positions in regional or local authorities, environmental monitoring/testing, relevant government departments or the farming industry. They may also progress to higher-level study, such as the Bachelor of Environmental Management at SIT.
Hamish Small, SIT’s Head of Faculty responsible for the Queenstown Campus said the SIT – Mana Tāhuna collaboration was a great example of the positive outcomes achieved through a proactive approach in engaging with the community; environmental management is a contemporary subject and he believed the newly-introduced programme would of interest to other local conservation groups as well as the wider Queenstown community. “The course is open to the public as well - everyone is welcome to apply”, he said. “We want to be responsive to the Queenstown community and support learning which leads to better employment prospects, in this case, we’re supporting local environmental initiatives as well.”