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Ed Sheeran

Polytech reconsiders one chance drug test policy

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Maori public health advocacy group Hapai Te Hauora is welcoming a move by Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology to rethink its student drug testing policy.

The polytechnic, which has campuses in Rotorua and Tauranga, introduced drug testing for trades students in 2016, picking up an 8 percent fail rate in its first semester.

Students who don’t pass are given one week to retest, at their own expense, or they are withdrawn from the programme.

Hapai chief executive Lance Norman says drug testing should not be a barrier for young people considering a career in the trades.

While testing is needed for safety reasons, any positive results should be followed up with offers of counselling and other appropriate supports to move students away from possible addiction and into their chosen career pathway.

“In the past many young Maori and Pacific interested in the trades have been turned away because of drug testing when it could have been a far more positive outcome, ending in more trade qualified New Zealanders and an opportunity for a health intervention that would benefit that young person and their families’ future for life," Mr Norman says.

 

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