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CLeaR Fellows 2018 – Dr Tia Dawes

Work-Related Learning and Māori Student Success

Dr Tia DawesKo Whakarongorua te maunga
Ko Utakura te awa
Ko Ngātokimatawhaorua te waka
Ko Ngāpuhi te iwi
Ko Ngāti Toro te hapū
Ko Tia Dawes tōku ingoa

Tia is both a Research Fellow with the James Henare Māori Research Centre and Career Consultant with Career Development and Employment Services at the University of Auckland. Tia studied the oratory of the Late Roman Republic with a particular emphasis on the political writings of Cicero before becoming increasingly interested in issues that involve Māori. As a James Henare Fellow he has worked on projects that support the well-being of kaumātuatanga in Te Tai Tokerau and now, as a CLeaR Research Fellow, he has the opportunity of working with those at the other end of the age spectrum, Māori rangatahi.

“Work-Related Learning and Māori Student Success”

There is evidence to suggest that participation within work-related learning (WRL) programmes leads to improvements in course retention, course completion and improved academic grades as students complete their tertiary study. And yet little is known about how Māori students navigate their WRL experiences and manage their subsequent decision-making processes. It also remains unknown about how Māori transition through their tertiary studies and into the workforce as a result of these WRL experiences.

Over the past three years, Career Development and Employability Services (CDES) have provided opportunity for over 200 Māori students to participate in WRL programmes. These have included placements with Māori mentors within the engineering industry, non-clinical career days within the health sector, site visits within the technology sector and public sector panels and industry-led workshops. Māori students have been exposed to Māori leadership and role models within whānau-like environments, which we know to be important contributors to Māori student success. Alongside Māori teaching practices and relevant curricula, success is fostered when students have a good understanding of academic requirements and skills, feel motivated and set goals. As a result of these WRL experiences, students are engaged in the development of strategies that may progress their career aspirations. This project seeks to determine the ways in which participation within WRL programmes benefits the student and the student’s decision-making process and whether these experiences have supported student retention, course completion and academic performance. The research therefore aims to explore:

What aspects of WRL support Māori success at tertiary study?
How do students build on their WRL experience when they return to university?
What are the barriers and challenges faced by Māori students within this context?