Workers building skills

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Orchard workers from Vanuatu and Fiji are celebrating building a better shed to withstand cyclones.

The Recognised Seasonal Employment (RSE) workers have been taking part in a 20-hour building course offered by Vakameasina, the RSE worker training programme funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Regional co-ordinator Juliet Pye said the pilot programme was geared towards creating sustainable development opportunities for the workers to improve their lives in New Zealand and that of their communities back home.

Led by tutor Graeme Pye, the workers have been spending Saturday afternoons for the last few weeks at Otago Polytechnic’s Central Otago Campus on Bannockburn Rd.

Using tools normally available in their island villages, the shed was built with a focus on construction methods and techniques that could help make a building resistant to cyclones.

Vakameasina has been offered around the Central Otago Region for more than 10 years, held in workers’ accommodation, pack house staff rooms, or rented facilities.

Courses have included healthy living, financial capability, digital literacy, sexual health and human rights, Mrs Pye said.