More choices for College students

bombingNew Ashburton College Gateway co-ordinator Candice Prebble awaits students eager to begin work.

By Susan Sandys
Ashburton College senior students weighing up whether to continue with their education or instead begin work can have the best of both worlds at the school this year.
The college is to begin a new $60,000 government-funded programme called Gateway, which will provide career training for 40 students.

Programme co-ordinator Candice Prebble said she was excited about the opportunities it would bring. Ms Prebble is employed 30 hours per week in the new Gateway co-ordinator role.
The programme will involve participating students choosing a career path and then being placed with a suitable employer. They will work at the designated workplace one day per week.
Involvement in their career of choice will be assessed and students will gain New Zealand Qualifications Authority or NCEA credits.

Ambulance attends ambulance accident

helicoptersAshburton police conducting an intersection campaign were at the wrong place at the wrong time when a vehicle collided with an ambulance near the hospital this morning.
Police and an ambulance were called to attend the accident on the intersection of Walker and Wills Streets at about 9am.

Constable Paula Williams said the male driver, the sole occupant of a Mitsubishi Espada, allegedly failed to give way while heading west on Wills Street, colliding with the ambulance and causing it to tip on its side.
No-one was injured in the collision and the ambulance was not carrying passengers at the time.

Ms Williams was parked on the intersection of Moore and Cass streets monitoring drivers at the well-known black spot when she was called to the accident.

Real balancing act for the kids

adamThey will have to fit that in with their outside interests and the curriculum at school so it’s going to be a real balancing act for the kids to do that,” Ms Prebble said.

The range of careers students can choose is endless and may include jobs as diverse as retail assistant, journalist, veterinarian and lawyer.
“Hopefully we will get some students who will make us think outside the square, rather than the basics of what we can do and really use the programme to their advantage,” Ms Prebble said.

Mount Hutt College Methven has also been granted funding for the first time under the Gateway scheme and plans to run the programme for 10 of its students.
Budget 2006 provided additional funding of $8.1 million (GST exclusive) over four years to expand Gateway opportunities to all decile seven to 10 state and integrated secondary schools.
February 1 2007

Location, climate and community

Location, climate and community facilities make Ashburton appealing to people of all ages, with the largest grouping of adults being in the 35 – 50 age group. The climate in summer is usually hot and dry with temperatures reaching 32 degrees Celsius on several days during January and February.

Warm, norwesterly winds predominate. The winters can be described as being crisp and bracing. Winter frosts are usually followed by mild, sunny days. The average rainfall is approximately 75 cm per annum, with no distinct rainy period being experienced.

Challenging youths to reach their goals

Cactus is all about challenging young people to push themselves and reach for their goals, and the Safer Community Council has high hopes for the success of the programme in Ashburton.

After months of planning, the Cactus programme will kick off for the first time on February 12, led by Kerry Kampjes, who doubles as a youth support worker for SSC and funded by the Ashburton Youth Institute.

The Cactus programme has been running in Westport for some years and has provided impetus for many young people to make positive changes in their lives.
SCC co-ordinator Kevin Clifford and Mr Kampjes are optimistic the programme will work well in Mid Canterbury, catching at-risk youth before problems escalate. But, Mr Clifford said, Cactus was for everybody, aged between 11 and 15 years of age and almost everyone would get something out of the course.

New approach for Variety Theatre

boule_dayBy Sue Newman
Ashburton’s Variety Theatre is taking a different approach to its first production for the year.

While the group traditionally produces shows with a heavy emphasis on music, in April it plans to stage three, one-act plays.

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The cast for those three plays will also be different, actors aged between 12 and 18 years.
Publicity co-ordinator Elaine Vallender said while the society was without a permanent performing space, it was grabbing the opportunity to try new works and to explore new production options. “We are excited about another straight drama production, after the first drama in November 2005, Steel Magnolias. The society is making the most of using different venues and trying out new styles of theatre.”

Traditionally Variety Theatre has performed in the Regent Theatre, but until Ashburton’s new performing arts centre is completed late this year, it is working from the Ashburton College auditorium.

Physical training and self-discipline course

GrogWhile describing Cactus as a physical training and self-discipline course, Mr Clifford said it was neither a counselling programme nor focused on punishment.

The programme has aims to improve self esteem, confidence and physical fitness, through participating in physical challenges. There is an emphasis on setting and reaching goals, both personally and in teams. “It’s not a boot camp, nobody shouts and roars. Discipline for minor misdemeanours will be handed out in the form of physical exercise and people are free to leave if they want,” Mr Clifford said.

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On the coast the Cactus programme has gained its own momentum and now has a waiting list, as word of the course spreads. “We want to encourage the kids who are not really involved in anything else to come along and have a go. We hope they will move on and join other groups afterwards,” Mr Clifford said.
The course will run for eight weeks, based in the Ashburton Sports Hall, with trainees expected to turn up to each session – Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 3.45 and 4.45pm.
SCC plans to run through the eight-week programme three times during the coming year, with 12 trainees on each course. Toward the end of the year an advanced Cactus course offers the opportunity for 12 trainees to join a five-day expedition.
Application forms are available from the Ashburton Safer Community Council on Havelock Street, or by calling Mr Kampjes on 308-1395.

A Toyota Tercel

execsThe car, a Toyota Tercel, was upright but had a smashed windscreen and appeared to have collided with a sign on the side of the road before coming to rest in the ditch.
Members of the serious crash investigation unit from Christchurch, along with a police photographer, arrived at the scene at around 1am today and were still mapping the scene at 10am.

While details of how the crash occurred were sketchy, skidmarks leaving the road indicated the car may have been travelling north and left the road soon after crossing the Rakaia Bridge.
It was not known whether there were any other occupants in the car at the time of the crash. The deceased woman’s name had not yet been released at time of going to press this morning.

The last production, Cabaret

andertonIts last production, Cabaret, was staged in the auditorium and by scheduling the one-act plays for the next school holidays, the audtitorium could be used to ensure there was no disruption to the college, Mrs Vallender said.
The three one-act plays planned for April, are all comedies – If You’re Glad, I’ll be Frank, by Tom Stoppard, On a Day in a Summer Garden, by Don Haworth and Three to get Married, by Kay Hill.
They will be directed by Jackie Heffeman, director of several of Ashburton’s Children’s Theatre productions.
The One-Act Play Festival will be staged from April 19 to 21. Auditions will take place on February 11 at 2pm, at the society’s Wills Street premises.
Twenty actors and actresses are required.

Woman killed in Rakaia crash

blairA bad start to the year on South Island roads took a turn for the worse last night when a 22-year-old Ashburton woman died in a horrific single vehicle crash just north of Rakaia at about 10.35pm.

Police and fire crews, including the Rakaia Volunteer Fire Brigade, were called to the scene shortly after 11pm and on arrival, found the deceased woman.
Last month a Tinwald man was killed when his vehicle was struck by a truck as he attempted a U-turn and there were several fatal accidents in the South Island at the weekend.
Last night’s crash occurred between the Rakaia River Bridge and Rakaia Rail Overbridge and the car was found in an irrigation ditch.