Since it opened its doors in 1987, award winning education and support training provider Taranaki Educare Training Trust, known as Educare Training, has helped to transform the lives of thousands of students. Operating out of modest premises in New Plymouth, the impact of this resilient community organisation is reaching far across Taranaki and beyond.
31 years years ago the trust had a vision to train people in early childhood and learning support. Now the organisation is an industry leader with several accolades to its name, including the recent win at the TSB Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards.
“Over time we’ve grown,” says Donna Ertel, Educare’s long serving general manager. “Back at the start we had 24 students enrolled - now we have 90 students this year alone.”
Today Educare’s students come from all backgrounds, cultures and abilities. Some arrive already with tertiary qualifications, while others are just starting out, making their first step towards work and a career. Says Talia Coghlan, Educare’s administrator “The real life work skills and knowledge they gain here helps them decide what path they really want to take.”
Former students are based across the industry in a variety of interesting roles. Donna says “Around half our students go straight into employment as learning and education support workers, early childhood educators, and accessibility support workers.”
Many go on to further study. “Currently five students are doing primary teaching in Waikato, 10 are engaged in the early childhood education degree through The Open Polytechnic and 20 are enrolled in fast track level 4 training programmes.” says Donna.
Some students present with challenges and as an organisation strong on whanau values, Educare are big on pastoral care. “When you fall down we are here to pick you up, but we’ll teach you strategies to help you” says Donna.
Students learn how to be resilient, how to showcase their skills, how to take critique from employers, to work with other cultures and to adapt. “We try to create a warm, comforting environment. A place where people feel safe to learn and explore their future direction.”
Educare’s base on Dawson St might be humble but they are a highly professional team. To operate well in today’s environment, Donna says “you have to be organised, transparent and be part of the community.”
“Our Board of Trustees includes myself, and Peter Ertel (Tandem), Steve Ebert (CML Legal), who are skilled in legal and financial areas, and business development. My operational team are strong independent women who know their stuff. One of our key strengths is team work.”
In October the Trust was recognised as an outstanding not for profit, winning The Wheelhouse Not for Profit Excellence Award. The judges recognised the trust’s ability to adapt itself to meet the changing needs of its environment, while maintaining high standards and a strong community focus.
Winning the award has come as an affirmation and Donna encourages others to take up the challenge. “It was a huge boost, exhilarating and a great learning opportunity for us all.”
TSB Community Trust is a supporter of Taranaki Educare Training Trust, the Business Excellence Awards and The Wheelhouse Not for Profit Business Award.
Congratulations Educare Training, for your work helping others to grow and nurture our tamariki and build a capable, connected community that is strong, resilient, and thriving.