Students achieve a New Zealand first

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Ashburton College students, with foundation studies head of department Liz Carrick, are the first graduating class for the New Zealand Certificate in Foundation Skills year 11.
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New Zealand’s first ever prizegiving for the New Zealand Certificate in Foundation Skills level one version three was held at Ashburton College last week.

It used a new suite of standards specifically designed for the course.

Ashburton College foundation studies head of department Liz Carrick said the course aimed to re-engage learners, support them and provide pathways into further education at polytechnics, YMCAs and universities.

‘‘It also acts as a stepping stone into apprenticeships and the work force. The course provides students with the chance to develop self management, resilience, leadership and communication within communities,’’ Carrick said.

‘‘It also focuses on developing the skills needed for life such as numeracy, reading and writing. The course is worth 60 credits. Students with this course can go on to do NCEA level 2 should they wish to.’’

There were cheers and loud clapping when the students received their certificates with the class of year 11 students the first in New Zealand to graduate with this qualification.

Proud friends and family watched on as each student crossed the stage as the number of credits they had earned was read out, alongside what staff appreciated and admired about each student.

SPECIAL RECOGNITION: New Zealand Certificate in Foundation Skills graduates (from left) Peni Taufa, Oakley Wood, Austin Soal, Jackson Couper and Chloe Earnshaw earned special awards.

There were five students recognised with special awards.

Peni Taufa received a Tino Rantiratanga Award for leadership, Oakley Wood the Pono Tikanga Award for integrity, Austin Soal and Jackson Couper the Ngakau Mahaki Award for respect, and Chloe Earnshaw the Aroha Award for care and compassion.

Peni, 16, said doing the course had changed his education habits.

‘‘When I was younger I wasn’t very motivated to learn. This course changed that for me. I really enjoy learning now and have learnt lots. I am returning next year to continue my studies,’’ Peni said.

‘‘The staff have been great, they have supported me and the extra help has meant I achieved on the course.’’

Staff were on hand to present certificates and congratulated the students.

Over the past three years, two teachers – Papatoetoe deputy principal Karen Drobic and Pukekohe High School lead of learning support Esther Williams – have been working alongside Carrick on the development of the programme for secondary schools.

This included working with people in the Ministry of Education and the tertiary sector to develop and design the 12 unit standards for the course. There were monthly trips to Wellington.

‘‘We have now established a subject association and have several schools now wanting to implement the programme which we are supporting,’’ Carrick said.

‘‘If the success of these akonga is anything to go by then the future is looking bright.

‘‘It has been an absolute pleasure to watch these young people become proud and eager for success. They now have the grounding to support them no matter what they choose.

“The New Zealand Certificate for Foundation Skills level 1 is here to stay.

‘‘Work on the level 2 programme is already under way with a rating panel in which I am is writing the standards as we speak.’’

‘‘This was an awesome bunch of young people who have developed qualities and attributes they should be proud of,’’ she said.