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The Maori and Pasifika Trades Training level 3 business administration course is the second programme for Maori and Pasifika to be established by Ara outside Christchurch, after a He Toki and Pasifika Trades carpentry programme began in Timaru late last year.
"We were down here [in Oamaru] asking the community what the community wanted and this was an identified need," Ms Giles said.
"That’s what we want, we want the community to identify what they want to do and then we’ll do everything we can to make that happen."
In April, after the January 1 merger of Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and Timaru-based Aoraki Polytechnic, which formed Ara, Ms Giles told the Otago Daily Times she expected "ongoing demands" from students at Ara’s Oamaru campus.
"We just have to make sure we’ve got the right products and programmes so we can support it," she said.
The level 3 business administration course is a step towards a National Certificate in Business Administration.
Ms Giles said Ara received permission from the Tertiary Education Commission to use the Maori and Pasifika Trades Training funding it provides for business administration after it was identified as a need in the North Otago community of about 14,000 that boasts roughly 2000 Pasifika people.
About 100 people gathered for the students’ induction ceremony, which was moved to Waitaki Girls’ High School on Saturday after fears of inclement weather forced organisers to scrap plans for the event to be held outside at Ara’s Humber St campus.