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Studying doesn’t have to mean giving up your work or home life. Flexible options allows you to choose how you learn.
“When my mother suggested I look for a career rather than just a job, I decided I wanted to do business and looked at study options. NorthTec was best for me because I preferred the practical study of a polytech rather than a university, and it was closest to my home.”
“I’m loving learning things I want to learn, compared to school where the subjects didn’t interest me. It’s also much easier to learn here because the student-tutor relationship is closer in small class sizes, and we get to apply hands-on what we’ve learnt. My only challenge is stepping up to the more difficult education level, but that’s what I’m here for.”
“Next year, I might go on to study for a fourth year and I can already see myself working with meaning. I’m keen to work in anything to do with business and am still learning the range of choices and pathways that business can offer.”
Alec completed a three-day welding course at NorthTec and decided to continue his studies on with a Certificate in Mechanical Engineering.
“I’m motivated to finish this programme because it means I get a head start on an apprenticeship or employment.
“I like the diversity in what we are learning, it’s very safety-focused to make sure we all know what we are doing. It’s teaching me all the basic skills I need to operate safely and effectively in the workplace. The tutor is really supportive and there are some good guys in the class - we all get along.
“It’s not like school, it’s pretty chill and it’s a nice environment to learn in. My favourite part is learning about fabrication – getting to make stuff and see it as a finished product, it’s pretty rewarding.
“It’s pretty important that we get to spend time in the industry while we study. I spend two days a week working with Archwell Engineering, and three days at NorthTec. Through this I know what I’m aiming for and what I can get out of doing this course. It prepares you for life after course, it prepares you for employment – what you’re going to be doing in the real world.
“If you’re thinking of starting a career in Mechanical Engineering, come to NorthTec first because they teach all you need to know before you get into the workplace. The tutors are a great support and they can potentially help you find a job too.”
“I’ve been around cars all my life, and I wanted to fix them so I started my studies at the Kaikohe campus last year and have now moved to Whangarei to complete the Level 3 Certificate in Automotive Engineering.
“We learn basic things to more professional things, from a full service to changing tyres and all that sort of stuff.
“After this programme, I will gain an apprenticeship and go on to become a mechanic.
“The best part about studying here is being involved with the International Rally when it comes to Whangarei. Working on the rally cars alongside international teams is pretty awesome, it’s not an everyday thing! I think it will help me in my future career, for sure.
“My advice to students would be just to give anything a go, whatever opportunity comes your way.”
Owen is making a career shift from radiology to architecture, as well as a recent regional shift from Taranaki to Northland.
“After having our first baby it was time to move closer to family up here and I was ready to rethink my career options. I was looking at nursing but realised it’s not quite me, and I’ve had an interest in drawing houses and house plans since I was young. A friend had also done this programme and recommended it.”
“There is such a range of options in where this course can lead - from design, to project managing, to council building inspection or to working in geo-tech. My main interest is in design so I’m loving using the CAD technology, but I’m also enjoying learning about materials and construction, plus how the environment affects a building and vice-versa.”
Owen is still working part-time in radiology so balancing study with both work and family is challenging.
“It’s years since I’ve studied and I didn’t do that well at school, but because I’m interested in architecture my marks and motivation are good and I’m keeping up with the deadlines. It was challenging at first but there are other mature students in the class so we support each other and the smaller class means we get more time with the tutors.”
“There are lots of advantages in making this career shift. I’ll be working in a field I enjoy, I can earn a better income, we can do quite a bit of work away from an office so the hours are more flexible, and I could end up with my own business. I’d like to work with an architect or designer for a couple of years to get some experience, and then later maybe have my own design business. I like that the design world is always developing.”
“My mum worked in the accounting field so I grew up knowing about that world, but I initially studied as a teacher in Auckland, thinking I’d teach accounting. When my flat in Auckland dissolved and my Mum had some health issues, it was time to come up here for more affordable housing, advance my skills in a different direction and meet some new people. This NorthTec degree is helping me re-frame my life and the tutors make it so worthwhile to be here.”
“I love how family-friendly NorthTec is with flexi-time if personal issues arise, and the tutors are there for you if you put in the work. I realising I’m a lot more capable than I thought I was. I tend to be self-deprecating so doing this degree has really built my confidence and validated my self-worth. The tutors also open doors for us and, through them, I’ve just started an internship with an accounting firm. It’s amazing the huge difference in my life in just 18 months.”
“I want to graduate with distinction, then work in a large accounting firm that could lead to international experience and eventually to become a Chartered Accountant.”
“I went to a small primary school where we learnt some te reo. It’s amazing how some of the basics like the colours, numbers and waiata have stuck. As an adult I’ve always wanted to learn te reo, so when I moved back up here from Auckland, this NorthTec course was just up the road and it was my chance get into it.”
“At my work there is more te reo spoken now, so the course also gives me a chance to understand more there. After we had some basic classes at work I was inspired to learn more, despite that fact that learning languages doesn’t come naturally to me.”
“I especially enjoy our kaiako (teacher) and the new friendships with my classmates. We’re all on slightly different levels, are different ages and occupations, but it works. Some students are stronger with their vocabulary and others with their language structure, and everyone shares their knowledge which really helps.”
“Memorising and public speaking are challenging for me but the environment is really supportive so that helps my confidence. It intrigues me that while some things are obvious, some things are thought about differently, like different words for family members depending on where you sit in the family.”
“Because we are here in Tai Tokerau, we’re learning the Ngāpuhi dialect to help keep it alive, so it often varies from the online resources. This was reinforced at our noho marae (overnight marae stay) where we also learnt that powhiri and tangi can differ marae to marae.”
“Our learning is more casual than some other te reo classes and I think that makes absorbing basic conversation easier, but it’s a certificate course so we still have outcomes that we have to meet.”
“My goal is to be fluent but I realise that requires in-depth and long term immersion in te reo. Already I can pick up on basic conversations but I’m keen to be able to understand a lot more and converse at the next level, so I may carry on next year. In the meantime, I want to make sure te reo stays in my life, so I listen to podcasts and waiata on YouTube when I can’t be amongst it in my daily life.”
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