Community innovation



The Open Classroom initiative is in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and was created as an alternative form of education for at-risk youth. It’s a place filled with visions of connecting with their whakapapa and using that to connect with their mentors, different areas of construction, and our community projects to create pathways into employment. Our youth are made up of various cultures and genders. The March cohort saw an increase in females engaging in the classroom, making up 60% of the cohort. April and May saw an increase in referrals from Oranga Tamariki, Genesis Youth, and other youth program advocates. We measure our success through our people, and a big part of that is ensuring we are also equally considering our youth.

Our success, our achievements, and our visions are all done purely for our futures. Therefore what better way to fulfill and work on those visions than to involve the younger generation in them through our introduced initiative ‘Open Classroom’. Thanks to our open classroom division, we can track the progress through collaboration with our youth on what they want to see in their future. We understand the crucial part our youth have for the future. When we start seeing that they understand the importance of valuing reusable material not only for its environmental value but for what it does for our communities. It’s an opportunity for our youth to start thinking innovatively sooner rather than later, preparing them and setting them up to become future change-makers.

Read more about the Open Classroom
in an article here:


Education Gazzete Editors issue:
Volume 101, Number 3


Due to the ages getting younger, we are adjusting the program as we go to ensure maximum participation. This will be based on the referrals received and having to do robust planning ahead to have a look at the dynamics to ensure they will work well together due to the age difference. Included in the planning is to understand any court appearances, bail conditions, times that they need to be home, social service agency visits, and family events. This highlights the importance of building meaningful relationships with whanau and wider support for whanau.

The open classroom was relocated from Ranui, West Auckland to Glen Innes, East Auckland where our Tamaki regeneration projects are based. This allowed our classroom more hands-on experience with more onsite visits, more resources available to build more projects in our classroom, more interaction and visibility of our site staff that work on the sites, and less traveling for our rangatahi as Glen Innes is very central to where the young learners are staying. Here is some of our Open-Classroom progress in March 2022:


Our beautiful Open-Classroom Team’s pop-up stand at Tāmaki College’s Subject and Pathway Expo. An awesome day that saw many students starting to generate ideas on what they want for their futures.

We look forward to attending more expos all over Aotearoa and helping other Pasifika and Māori students gain skills to aid their careers within the Construction and Trades industry.

“I had a great time. I am Thankful for this program and thankful to everyone for being patient with me, It means a lot”

– Open Classroom Student

Open Classroom Demographic

Our Rangatahi group for our March-May Cohort. The cohort derived of Rangatahi that are dis-engaged from main-stream education, are not looking to return to school but look at alternative options.


How Does Open Classroom Create Impact For Our Youth?
The secret to our success is introducing them on sites. As a Pasikifa-led and run company, they quickly see that everyone in the company is Māori or Pacific, from the apprentices to the engineer to the managing director, and they can relate. It could be different from anything they’ve seen before. They then begin to imagine themselves in those roles, which creates talks between them and the staff. Even if the influence is minimal, it is nevertheless significant.
How Do You Engage Your Staff?
To engage our staff in the effort, we want to spend as much time as possible with the youth, beginning with an introduction to all aspects of the TROW company, from our office crew to our leadership end of the company. This is in place so that our staff may support and assist our Rangatahi in identifying their interests, and possible study options. Adapting that Tuakana-Teina relationship to eliminate the overwhelming factor that comes with talking about their future.
What Is Incorporated Into Your Work Readiness Module To Aid Their Chances Of Employment?
Our Rangatahi requires practical support to develop the skills and self-confidence to get into the workforce. This includes

  • Interview skills
  • Dress for success
  • CV introductions/updates
  • Social Media usage
  • What employers look for in employees
  • Budgeting skills