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With 26,000 job openings in Northland by 2024, see how you can increase your earning power by climbing the skills ladder.
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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.
“Shifting my focus from studying animals, to studying and improving the environment they live in, is one of the best choices I’ve made.” Darlene’s first passion was animals and she planned to study zoology at Massey University until she had a chat with one of the tutors at NorthTec. “He had studied zoology at uni but recommended this degree instead because it offered more field experience and more involvement. He was also incredibly enthusiastic and had a real passion for what he teaches.”
“Staying closer to home also means I can study in Whangarei during the week and go home to my part-time job and connect with family in the weekends. It’s a bit of a balance because I have five younger siblings and my Mum is also studying her degree, so we support each other to make sure we have enough quiet time away from the younger children to study, and take turns managing the household. But I’m happy with my grades and I’m realising I’m more capable than I thought.”
“The course has opened my eyes to a whole new world and has given me new knowledge. I now realise how inter-connected everything is and how a healthy environment supports healthy species.”
Darlene is already applying what she is learning to where she is from. “For my third year project, I’m monitoring with Project Island Song which is a partnership between the Guardians of the Bay of Islands, Te Rawhiti hāpu and DOC. During this process I will be able to build relationships and connections with people in this field. Once the monitoring is done, I will be writing a report on our results which will be beneficial to Project Island Song.”
“The tutors here have strong professional links which open doors to work experience and this can often progress into paid employment. When I finish my degree I’ll take a short break from study to recap and absorb what I’ve learnt as I’ve come straight from graduating high school. I also want to do some volunteering work to get experience in all areas relevant to this field. ”
“I want to acknowledge my tutors and academic advisers for their input and feedback on my writing, and thank my family for their massive support to make my study possible. My long term dream is to make a difference back home with my hapū, iwi and family so that they’re equipped to know the greater context of the environment that we live in. Already my sister is inspired to pursue this degree as well.”
“When I was growing up I wanted to be an auto mechanic in a car workshop and someone recommended NorthTec to me and I thought I would follow it up.
“I really like the course itself. I think it’s really well planned, we go through certain tasks and we complete it term by term and it flies by to be honest.
“My favourite part about the course is the tools! There is not a lack of tools around the workshop. And the tutors - they’re always friendly and here to help. I’m in a small group of people in my class so I get a lot of one-on-one time with the tutors.
“What motivates me now is the opportunity of an apprenticeship at the end of the course and a career path.
“The tutors teach us a full run down of the car engine - we disassemble it, reassemble it, and see all of the components multiple times. You learn the right practices too, you’re not just following what your old man does. We learn the skills needed for when you start working.
“Working on the rally cars for the International Rally that comes to Whangarei is just awesome. It’s a really rare opportunity and gives us the experience and skills we wouldn’t usually get. It’s also really cool to network and meet the big names in the industry!
“Being in the automotive industry is great because it’s hands-on and practical work.
“If anyone is thinking about coming on this course, I would say just do it! It’s fees-free! You have nothing to lose!”
“I now look forward to Mondays to learn more, and I find rolling paint on walls soothing and very satisfying. Two months before starting this course I quit my job in a warehouse and was just chilling at home. A friend was doing level 4 in this painting course and said level 2 still had some spaces and was fees-free, so I wanted to give it a go. I always used to do drawings and colour them, so I’m loving it.”
“The only tricky bit for me is masking out for the windows and doors but I’m improving at that now. I’m surprised that we also do plastering, scaffolding and health and safety, so I’m enjoying learning new things. The students are a real mix of backgrounds and ages but we all get along well and the older ones have already done some painting and plastering so we help each other out.”
“We’re already painting as a class around NorthTec’s Raumanga campus with the tutors supervising, and if we go on and complete level 3 and 4, a group of us might invest in a van and tools, hire some scaffolding and start a business. With the boom in housing there’s plenty of painting work around.”
“My real dream though is to spray-paint cars – and the level 4 programme teaches us spray-painting.”
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.”
“The best part about this course is that I found a passion for art. I’ve never done art before but you can be quite creative with what we have been learning. I want to go on and study art and become an artist. My tutor really motivates me, he’s really helpful and helps me when I’m struggling. You learn all you need to know here to be a professional painter, but I’m now excited to pursue a career as an artist. My advice to anyone thinking about coming to study is – stick to what you’re passionate about!”
“I was wanting more meaningful work and had been in the north about 18 months doing part-time work until I decided I wanted to study horticulture. It is values based, hands-on and focuses on sustainability which is necessary for future generations. It’s fascinating to me. I was originally from the city and came up here to be nearer family, so the content is all new to me and I’m learning a completely different lifestyle.”
“With what I’m learning, it’s exciting to think about what the future holds – both as an individual and for our greater culture. I’m surprised at how broad the course is and that we can apply what we learn to any aspect of our lives – at home, at work and even spiritually.”
“We have a variety of students in our class all with different views but our common interest puts us all in the same bubble. It’s a very healing environment to be in and the tutor has a real passion and knowledge.”
“At the moment I’m living at home but the course is giving me ideas of how to run my own farm and to share that with children and social groups. For me the outcome will be more about lifestyle than career, and when I finish level 4 I’m keen to talk to schools and young people about waste and environmental issues.”
“I want to make the most of what’s on offer here which includes the support network and community as well as the study, and I’ll see what happens after that.”
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