Replacing the doomed foundation-focused training
opportunities (FFTO) programme with other courses will make
little difference, a graduate says.
Dunedin resident Charity Upoko completed NCEA level 1 and 2
through the FFTO programme run by the Methodist Mission last
She found fulltime employment as an administrator at
Carisbrook School and said the programme was valuable.
''If I hadn't done the course, I would probably be at a loss
now. It definitely prepared me for work.''
The lack of job vacancies was the main reason why so few FFTO
graduates got work, she said.
Last week, the Government announced it was axing the
programme because only 28% of participants found jobs.
Replacement courses will be funded by the Government from
next year instead, although how much funding Otago will
receive remains uncertain.
Miss Upoko (35) said it did not matter how participants were
educated, if there were no jobs for them upon graduation.
She said most FFTO students successfully completed courses
and were capable of working, but they were considered lucky
to find employment regardless.
''Students are passing units and getting the work done, but
jobs aren't available. The programme itself is fine. It's
Miss Upoko, who left secondary school aged 15, enrolled in
the programme to get university entrance.
''When I was younger I didn't give myself a chance to get a
She said the course attracted all types of people of all
ages, each motivated to learn for different reasons.
Older participants found it especially hard to get work, as
employers tended to favour younger applicants, she said.
Fellow Methodist Mission student Ned Kupenga was an
The 63-year-old had worked as a building inspector in Dunedin
for about two decades before being made redundant last year.
He undertook an FFTO programme course in computing skills and
last September he moved to Christchurch for a job as a
project manager in civil construction.
''The Methodist Mission helped me fill the gap, really.
Without that upskilling, I wouldn't be footing it now,'' he
Mr Kupenga also said there was a lack of jobs in Dunedin at
the time, hence his move to Christchurch.