MOCK interviews, plenty of team work, and a good helping of press-ups are part of preparing Tarawera High School students for careers in the defence force.

Teacher Douglas Rehu began the school’s first defence class last year and it was so successful the programme expanded to two classes in 2015.

Mr Rehu said the school was shifting towards providing more vocational learning opportunities and the defence classes were designed to prepare students for careers in the army, navy, air force, and police.

Students completed a selection of NCEA units which provided the relevant skills and knowledge they would need for a career in the defence forces.

These units included fitness, leadership, interviewing, English, history, and cultural elements like mau rakau (skilled use of weapons) taught by staff from Tuwharetoa Hauora ki Kawerau.

He said the cultural element of mau rakau was helpful in providing students with a sense of self and purpose.

Many of the processes and punishments followed by the classes were modelled off army practices. When a student arrived late they received pressups as punishment, they also learnt as a team, and succeeded or failed as a group, Mr Rehu said.

Along with learning relevant information students also participated in a mock interview and completed a CV to help prepare them for making future job applications.

Mr Rehu said the school was still improving the programme and the goal was to qualify as a full New Zealand Defence Force service academy, which would bring extra resources and opportunities.

The classes are available to year 12 and 13 students but the school is considering extending the opportunity to year 11.

Tarawera’s deputy principal met with staff from another Eastern Bay school to share ideas about how similar courses could be launched, Mr Rehu said.

 

Source: Whakatane Beacon