Saying Farewell To Mike Fogarty

31 Mar 2016

After eight years (and nine months he points out), Mike Fogarty, programme area lead, construction and electrical is retiring from Waiariki Institute of Technology.

With he and his wife Chris initially lured away from their Manawatu home of 27 years by the thought of a change, Mike has since helped turn Waiariki’s suite of carpentry qualifications into some of the most popular in the institute’s range.

“Our kids had grown up and there was only Chris and I” he says. “The attraction to Waiariki was the ability to set up the carpentry level 4 programme in Taupo – which looked a lovely place. It took us a good three years to make inroads in the local construction industry, but good old George Fisher and I set up the classrooms and workshops for that.”

Proud to say that in his 50 year career he has had only 8 employers, including himself, Mike highlights being part of the ITAB apprenticeship programme and the revamp of carpentry at Waiariki as his personal high points.

“To start with, we were trying to put students into the same environment that they had at school. As that was proving unsuccessful, we decided to bring in a more achievable programme that was focused on practical, hands-on learning.”

Appointed section manager for construction and electrical under then director, Kevin Uncles, Mike was part of the team that decided to start the student construction of houses, backed by Chief Executive of the time, Dr Pim Borren.

“From that support, we built houses in Rotorua, Tokoroa and Taupo, which led into the birth of the Waiariki Charity House few years later. Now here we are at our fourth charity house, with the third making a great profit for local community groups and charities at the end of 2015. That was good.”

The reworked qualifications have also seen carpentry student numbers at Waiariki soar, with locations in which construction is taught by the institute expanded to include Whakatane and Taumarunui.

“There are too many people to be named, but the amount of staff who support you at Waiariki is fantastic. The level of assistance I have been given has made my job a little bit easier.

“I maybe leaving them on the 1st of April, but I won’t be turning around and saying ‘Haha that was a joke’. No it is not.

“As for where to next, Chris and I will be retiring to a place called Otaki Beach. I have three lovely young grandchildren who I will focus on catching up with, and it will give Chris and I a chance to do our own thing and spend a bit more time together. I’m looking forward to it.”

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