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Thursday 21 January 2010 | Published in Regional


Twenty-five boys have signed up to the Cook Islands Sports Academy when classes start up next month.

With CISA now being accredited to teach level 3 units for the National Certificate in Sport, manager/tutor Kevin Iro says a few boys have returned from last year’s intake.

Iro says the long term objective is to be able to deliver level 5 units which can go towards a diploma course.

This will be the fifth intake since the Rarotonga-based academy began in 2006, with the course offering youngsters the opportunity to secure a semi-professional career in either rugby league or union.

But there will be a bit of a difference in 2010.

Iro has secured classrooms at Nikao Maori school where the sports-based programme will be based, along with Te Uki Tumanava, a trades-based programme for youth at risk, along with a new initiative, Rakei Toa, which will help to empower young boys with the skills and education they need during life.

“Having the three programmes under one roof will enable them to choose pathways whether they want to pursue a trade [through Tumanava] or sports [through CISA]. Because at the end of the day, it’s about developing a good work ethic to get through life and being good citizens for the country.”

Iro says they will be looking for a full-time tutor for the Rakei Toa programme which has the support and endorsement of the ministry of education.

Iro says he is thankful for the work that tutors Damien Beddoes and Lloyd Matapo are putting into the the CISA and Te Uki Tumanava programmes respectively.

Fifteen students have signed on for Aitutaki CISA this year under tutor Junior Tamati – with five girls likely to get on board. The Aitutaki academy will maintain close links with Araura College, as does the Rarotonga programme does with Tereora College.

The current intake of 10 participants on the Te Uki Tumanava programme, which has been based at the department of national human resources development’s (NHRD) trades training centre in Arorangi, is due to finish this month.

“The main positive is that these guys gain some respect for a high work ethic. A lot of the past students have secured steady jobs or they are studying and working towards their future goals.”