An Auckland high school is doing its bit to ease the housing shortage by building four homes and selling them.
Massey High School runs a fulltime building academy for level two students who want to learn the trade.
The four houses have sold for prices ranging from $180,000-200,000, leaving the school with about $20,000 profit from each sale.
The homes are made out of cedar weatherboard, are 120 square metres in size, have three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a laundry and are fully transportable.
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Each home sold by word of mouth with no money spent on advertising.
The properties are now in Muriwai, south Auckland and as far as Raglan and Waimate North.
Students spend six months building the houses on site at school.
The properties are then transported to their new owners by foundation student Craig Walker’s house removal company.
The academy is one of six “pathways” the school, in conjunction with Rutherford, Waitakere, Kelston and Green Bay High School, is running to help bridge the gap from secondary to tertiary education.
Massey student Claude Viviani said being outside, as opposed to in a classroom, was one aspect of the program the students enjoyed, but having a different, practical pathway to achieving NCEA was the biggest plus for the group.
“I really do like being outside and learning something practical,” he said.
“I know that it will get me a job when I leave school so that’s awesome.”
Walker is the driving force behind the building academy, donating both his time and money to help students break into the work force.
“I failed at school, I had dyslexia. There was a place for me in the world, but not in the education sector at the time, and when I saw what was happening here I just though ‘wow how powerful’,” Walker said.
The students in the academy do not do any other subjects.
Instead, they arrive at school at 8am and work until 4pm to simulate a day in the real world.
Walker’s company, Craig Walker Building Removals, works with the school to finalise the houses’ design and establish the foundations for the houses to be built upon.
Walker also donated three prefabricated classrooms where students do all their paper work and safety training.
The building academy costs the school around $140,000 a year to run.
Deputy principal John Tinling is in charge of the programme. He said there is a lot of wastage with the building students because they are learning and “tend to make mistakes here and there, so we go through a lot of materials”.
Initially, Tinling said the programme was a gamble for the school and a big investment. Luckily, however, Massey had Walker to fall back on.
“It is a risk for the school if they built a house and it didn’t sell. So I put my name to it as a bit of cover, I have said from the start if they can’t sell it I’ll buy it because it is a training program not a business,” Walker said.
Massey’s latest home project will likely be sold later this year.