Chris Treacher, EIT’s Te Ara o Taakitimu’s Māori and Pasifika Mentor, is “part of the furniture” at local
education and training provider G & H Training. They teach construction skills and theory while Chris
helps students navigate the stuff outside of their course that can impact their ability to succeed. It’s a
formula that works not only at G & H but is proven across businesses and courses where the EIT support
programme for Maori and Pasifika has shown it leads to success for all parties.
With a background in the Navy and his own business in the health and fitness industry guiding and
supporting people to achieve their goals is second nature for Chris. He has found that what works for
physical training works in education too. “Setting goals and being able to work one on one, face to face
is really effective to build relationships. Drilling down with the individual to really find out what’s going
on. There’s opportunity for small group work too when appropriate. It’s about having that flexibility,” he
Working proactively with G & H Training and being aware of what’s happening on the ground is also key
to making sure students make it through their course. A number of them are recipients of EIT’s Maori
and Pacific Trade Training Scholarship and it was through this that Chris first worked with G & H
Training. He now has remit to mentor all students.
Managing study and life can be difficult. Chris has noticed familiar roadblocks and themes that students
face. He cites external influences that affect them most. Fighting, gangs, drugs, babies, family and
housing issues often leading to a lack of motivation. “Our (TAoT’s) focus is to remove the barriers for our
students. We help identify learning difficulties and work with them practically. It’s pretty hard to
concentrate on course when you’ve got no food in the cupboard at home.” Students are offered
incentives such as access to driver licences as well the key outcomes the programme aims to achieve.
These include apprenticeships, work in their chosen industry or staircasing into further study.
It’s clear in his mind that a role like his is beneficial. “If there was no one like me what is the alternative?
We see so many of our people failed by the school system. We are here to get them across the line, help
them step-up, take some responsibility and understand their strengths and weaknesses so that they