South Wairarapa communities will have the option to study locally this year, with UCOL set to run an early childhood education programme in Martinborough from August.
The successful National Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care level 3 programme is a one semester full-time programme.
It covers health, safety and nutrition, caring for young children, development and learning, and how to develop educational programmes for infants, toddlers and young children.
The programme, which is also at UCOL Masterton, will be offered from semester two this year at the Martinborough Playcentre on Venice St three days a week.
UCOL executive dean of humanities and business Dean Rankin said access to education had been limited for people living in South Wairarapa, due to limited transport services or high petrol costs.
"As the main tertiary provider in the Wairarapa region, UCOL has a responsibility to develop learning opportunities to areas that are under-resourced to meet the community's needs.
"Our delivery of this programme in Martinborough will remove the barrier of travel and provide the opportunity to develop a strengths-based, family-context learning environment."
Graduates of this programme will be suitable for early childhood centres and kohanga reo in the South Wairarapa, including outreach centres.
There will also be the option for graduates to staircase to the Bachelor of Teaching currently offered by Open Polytechnic.
It is hoped that bringing the nationally recognised qualification to South Wairarapa will allow for the identification and development of other UCOL programmes in the area.
UCOL is looking to secure centres in South Wairarapa for placement of students for the practicum component of the programme, with each student requiring 110 hours of placement.
Teresa Aporo from Martinborough completed the certificate in early childhood education through UCOL's Masterton campus in 2013.
She said the programme being available in Martinborough would be positive for students living in South Wairarapa.
She was placed at Dot Kids in Martinborough for her practical placement and is still employed by the centre three years on.
Anna Hull, president of Martinborough Playcentre, where the UCOL programme will run from, said the playcentre community was happy to support the programme.
Enrolments are now open.
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