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Second Kilmarnock cohort earn Ara | Te Pūkenga qualifications

29 November, 2023

Mahi done. Qualifications earned. Smiles wide.


Participants in the latest Kilmarnock Enterprises cohort celebrate with Ara tutors

The latest cohort of Kilmarnock Enterprises Academy Programme employees to achieve work-based learning credits have been celebrated at Ara |Te Pūkenga.

The ākonga (students) who completed their Level 2 Food and Work Safety Practices programme in the workplace were awarded certificates in Foundation Studies at an event held at Visions restaurant at Ara’s City campus.

Kilmarnock Enterprises is an Ōtautahi-based social enterprise creating employment and development pathways for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The partnership between its academy and Ara, which ran for the first time earlier this year, involves a programme of New Zealand Qualifications Framework study for employees for two hours a week over 17 weeks.

The aim of the study was to ‘develop a series of food and work safety skills to enable the students to carry out tasks effectively and efficiently within work environments’.

Kilmarnock Enterprises Chief Executive Michael Toothill said the course had been designed to be accessible and rewarding for ākonga. “The course tutors have tailored its delivery to include significant hands-on and visual learning opportunities, capturing already held skills and knowledge and supporting a great learning experience for all.”

“This is a new approach provides people with an intellectual disability with a clear and tangible pathway in employment, training and development,” he said. “We’re incredibly proud of our learners for their hard work, and we’re grateful for this partnership offering exciting and fulfilling formal training opportunities our employees.”

Ryan Marshall, Manager Cookery and Bakery in Ara’s Department of Hospitality, Business and Service Industries said the students had applied themselves with enthusiasm to achieve academically and gain valuable life skills.

“It’s great to celebrate an incredible group of individuals who’ve shown tremendous courage, growth, determination and resilience on their path to education and personal growth,” he said.

He added that it was rewarding to see the programme come to life and become established in the space of 12 months thanks to the vision and determination of all those involved, including tutors and learning advisors Dave Spice, Katie Howie, Bill Bryce and Arnya Watson.


Foundation certificate recipients; (Top row L-R) Tim Cranston, Mike Graham, Tania McClure. Second row (L-R) Tony Chamberlain, Mark James, Shelley Anstiss

Foundation Certificate recipient Tania McClure wrote and presented her personal thoughts about the learning to the friends, whānau, kaiako (teachers) and work colleagues gathered at the certificate ceremony. “I fully enjoyed the course,” she said. “It was lots of fun. I learned lots of words and learned to cook food with the temperature gauge.”

Speaking afterwards, she explained that the knowledge she had gained was not only useful at work but also in her homelife where she enjoyed cooking a wide range of meals.

With the next cohort already fully subscribed for 2024, the foundations are strong for the continuation of this bespoke work-based Foundation Studies offering.

Read about our first cohort of Kilmarnock Academy ākonga here: Milestone graduation at Ara | Te Pūkenga for disabled workplace learners - Ara