The Ako project encourages industry to be more culturally responsive towards Maori apprentices and build lasting learning pathways for students.
Ako is a partnership between Ako Aotearoa, Te Tapuae o Rehua and Hawkins Group. This partnership serves as a research collaboration to support the Hawkins group in particular and the industry in general to improve the measures of success for Maori in the workplace.
Organisations do this by adjusting its internal culture to be more accommodating of Maori learners’ needs, encouraging their connection to the culture of the organisation and hence amplify their desire to complete the apprenticeship pathways.
The Ako Aotearoa National Project Fund (NPF) is a strategic change fund that supports evidence-based change in teaching and learning practice for the benefit of learners. In 2014 Hawkins and Te Tapuae o Rehua (on behalf of Ngai Tahu) were successful in securing a NPF to improve the quality of support for Maori apprentices.
The goals of the NPF are to:
The project team consists of Dr Catherine Savage, Porsha London, Nancy McConnell, Andrew Confait, Laura Clifford, and Hemi Inia. We have called this project AKO Whakaruruhau (learning and mentoring). A research paper by Kerehoma et al (2013) has already identified five aspects that are crucial to successful support for Maori. These are:
The project team is working to implement these aspects within Hawkins and the He Toki ki te Mahi Group Training Scheme to support apprenticeship completion during the Christchurch rebuild. In doing this, the AKO National Project Fund will assist us to create an authentic learning experience that focuses on supporting Māori and improving the quality of apprenticeship mentoring.
The project team is developing the first pathway to support Maori apprenticeship success in a Group Training Scheme through strong pastoral support, connected industry networks, mentoring and monitoring apprenticeship achievement.
The project will continue until May 2016, the team will continue to support mentoring activity in Hawkins and develop the tools and resources, and run a brief impact evaluation to determine how successful the programme has been.
See https://akoaotearoa.ac.nz/maori-trade-training for a more detailed description of the project