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Image of young female student with hammer on AECT construction site


Who are we?...

The Ara Education Charitable Trust (AECT) is a successful and innovative partnership between industry, government agencies and five South Auckland schools (Aorere College; Mangere College; Manurewa High School; Onehunga High School and Southern Cross Campus) to create employment and training opportunities for South Auckland school leavers. ​

This is a unique collaboration that we’ve worked on, tested and refined over the past few years and we’re ready to grow across more schools and businesses.

Aorere College logo
Manurewa High School logo
Onehunga High School logo
Southern Cross Campus logo

“Together we change lives and build communities”


Image of Nancy McConnell from Hawkins

For me, supporting our Maori and Pasifika peoples into aspirational, worth while careers is what gets me excited. There is a myriad of opportunities and variety in construction, and working with the Ara Education Charitable Trust helps us to authentically create bright career pathways.

Nancy McConnell
Former Strategic Advisor - HAWKINS

Our Forever House Project

We are incredibly excited to share our latest project with you. This is our "Forever Home", in collaboration with Stuff and the Auckland Airport.

Over the coming months, a tired old three-bedroom, one-bathroom farmhouse with holes in its floor, walls and roof will be transformed into a warm, liveable, low-cost sustainable home with four bedrooms, two bathrooms and an open-plan living area. This project will be undertaken by students from eight South Auckland Schools with the help of our two construction tutors, Willie and Mat. These students will receive practical, hands-on skills training while working on this house which will help them secure apprenticeships and give them a solid foundation into the workforce once they finish school at the end of this year.

Stuff will also be following the personal journey of six students that will be working on this house and will bring you regular interviews and updates on the progress of this house.

Article that was published on Stuff about our Forever House Project

Once this house is completed, it will be auctioned off to a new family who will make this their forever home. All funds raised will go back into this project to help more students get into the construction industry.

If you would like to get involved in this project as a sponsor or financial supporter, please get in touch with us.


Young students on Ara Education Project

House Renovation Project

Houses that were destined to become landfill are relocated to our site at the Auckland Airport where students renovate them while gaining valuable trade skills and experience of the workplace. Once finished, the refurbished homes will become part of the housing stock for our communities.


The House Renovation Project helps bridge the skills gap for industry and create sustainable employment opportunities for rangatahi in South Auckland.


We are really focussed on waste minimisation, not only do we divert the houses from landfill, but with help of our industry partners, we rescue construction materials that companies no longer need.  

Young Pasifika Girls on construction site

Pasifika Women in Construction Project

We work with young Pasifika women who are interested in working within the construction industry. We equip them with everything they need to be successful in an industry that is traditionally male dominated environment.  We show them that the construction industry can offer a vast array of career pathways, ranging from accounting and planning to engineering.

Work Experience Program

Students get the opportunity to work on some amazing work sites for one day a week throughout their final year of school. Thanks to the ongoing support of Auckland International Airport Limited and Hawkins Construction, our students have had the chance to work on commercial construction sites ranging from the extension of Auckland Airport, to large hotels, corporate offices and large residential developments. We also work in partnership with logistics and hospitality companies where students get extensive experience of these industries.

Tradie for a Day image with elderly man using a hammer

"Tradie for a Day"

Calling all retired, skilled construction workers and tradies!


Are you retired and have a bit of free time?  Do you want to be part of the change in our young people's lives? 


Join us and spend one day a week on our site renovating houses our students and become their "Dad for a day" by equipping them with the necessary skills and industry knowledge they need to be able to succeed in their future careers.


Students through the programme up to date


Number of Industry Partners


South Auckland Schools


Innovative transition to work projects

Our Sponsors


Read some of our latest news here...