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“I was very clear that I wanted to go to uni and study psychology but I didn’t get uni entrance from school so was looking at the best bridging study to get there when I chanced across this course. I was here for Orientation to support my partner and when I mentioned what I wanted to do to his tutor, she said this health and wellbeing course was perfect.”
“I was very nervous and quiet when I started because I come from right up north and was the youngest in the class, but my advantage was that I was straight out of school so I was used to study and written structure. I’m finding my grades are really good so that has helped my confidence and the course helps with communication and making presentations. It’s a really open environment here and all the students and tutors are genuinely supportive.”
“I’m realising since leaving home that my Dad is my inner voice encouraging me to be my best self. I’m really surprised here how strong the Māori aspect of the course is. I’m Māori but our parents didn’t speak te reo and I had to learn where I came from to give my pepeha here.”
“I can truly further my education by doing this course. I’m keen to upskill and want to absorb as much as possible to better my confidence, communication and motivational interviewing. I’ve already started applying to Auckland University where my sister is studying to be a doctor. My path will be a Bachelor of Arts with a Psychology major and my family’s end goal is to open a clinic up north for our own people. My Mum has her social work degree, my Dad is studying social work, my sister will have her medical degree, and I’ll have psychology.”
“I’m one of the oldest of ten children and all of us know how much need there is for education and up-skilling in our region. We as Māori are a small percentage of the population but the statistics in prison, mental health, and limited education are high. Together we can help with this. As youth, we all have capability to lift ourselves but a lot of us don’t realise we can do that by studying at NorthTec in a supportive system and staying in the area.”
“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!”
“All the odds were against me, so if I can do this degree course anyone can. I’m a foster child brought up in state care, I’m of Māori descent and I was kicked out of school at year 11. I looked down on my social worker and was determined to never be that, but my own experiences has now served to light my passion to help others in similar situations. Because I know how that path feels, I can encourage and work with people at a different level. I’m only 18 so I can really relate to youth.”
“My realisation that I wanted to study and work in social services only happened after I transitioned from state care into a residential home and lived independently. I also realised that because I had left school with nothing, university wasn’t an option for me, so I started my study path at a foundation course at NorthTec in hospitality, then did the certificate in Health and Wellbeing. Over the holiday break I found the courage to commit to doing this degree course. I’m all in it for the youth.”
“I am totally loving learning so many new skills and I feel so supported here as an individual and as a Māori. The wairua of the whole class and tutors supports our mana. We’re all different ages, cultures and gender, and we’re on different paths but we’re all in the same waka and we’re all passionate about being here. Listening and learning from each other gives us different perspectives.”
“Because I dropped out of school, I’m more hands-on and don’t like paperwork but my passion to learn and the support here is helping me focus on study. Because I’m young, another challenge is balancing study with the pull from my friends for social life.”
“Since I’ve been here, I'm amazed at the massive growth in myself and in others on the course. It has transformed my sense of self, and when I get my degree I’m keen to serve as a role model for rangatahi. I did some work with an organisation called VOYCE (Voices of the Young and Care Experienced) as a result of a work placement with Oranga Tamariki in the Health and Well Being course, and I’m now a paid intern for VOYCE and on their National Youth Council.”
“I came from so far down and now I have some exciting options ahead of me. When I finish the degree, my dream is to continue to study with a Master of Social Work and then maybe a degree in clinical psychology. I want to work my way up to parliament and be part of changing the laws that impact the youth of today.”
“To kids out there in care – if you get shut down, look for new doors to open. If you go off track, make a new way forward. How we deal with things shows what we’re made of. Live your own time line, and keep doing you.”
“I didn’t want to continue with my old job that I’d had for a few years, then when I had a back injury at work it became even clearer that it was time for a change. I couldn’t do the physical work anymore and during my recovery time I looked at my choices. I’m always drawing so my partner encouraged me to apply last minute to this course that was about to begin.”
“I’m now getting to create what’s in my head, out into reality. I’m so keen that I’ve filled a whole sketch book with my own work in addition to the course work, and people are even offering to buy some of the pages. I’m also opening up to heaps of new ideas from our art history study and I realise how much more there is to learn. It’s feeding me.”
“Our classmates also all have their own way of thinking and their own culture, so we all give each other feedback and its cool seeing other’s perspectives and art. A lot of my work is Māori-focused, however one girl in our class is French so I can start to see how other people think.”
“I was very nervous when I first came here because everything was new and I wasn’t a good student at school, but this environment is more relaxed than I expected so I’d encourage anyone thinking about studying to give it a try.”
“I’m keen to do well in this level 4 course, then I might go on to the Bachelor of Applied Arts, but I want to keep my options open for a while and continue to explore what’s out there.”
“My dream is to be a tattoo artist. I’m already doing it but I want to get internationally known. This feels like the first step in a bigger change in my life.”
“When an opportunity presented for me to fulfil my dream of furthering my education, especially in creative writing, I knew I had no more excuses. I had returned to New Zealand to look after my Mum after living in Sydney for twenty years, and my kids were older now. This course offered a foundation of learning across all writing platforms so was perfect for someone like me just starting out on my writing journey, and I liked that it was online but with hands-on tutor support.”
“Oddly, one of the aspects of the course I was most doubtful about is now one of my favourite parts. I was shy, thinking other students and tutors would be reading my stories in an online forum, but I now think it’s fun and invaluable to all share as our journeys unfolds. I also thought I’d miss the physical interaction with teachers and students but NorthTec host a hui where we meet our tutors and fellow students and hear pearls of wisdom from guest speakers that keep us all motivated and connected.”
“The dedication of the tutors is exceptional. They’re so passionate and professional and genuinely want to see us succeed, so they prop us up when we doubt ourselves and they soothe our end-of-semester stress.”
“A big surprise was that the course covered such a range of writing platforms. I thought it would be solely fiction writing but we explore writing blogs, scripts, eBooks, articles, poetry, writing for children, publishing contracts, how to self-edit, and even the tax responsibilities of a professional writer. My other surprise was a shift from thinking I wanted to write for children to instead falling in love with short story writing, which previously I had no time for.”
“This course has given me confidence and a belief in myself that I didn’t have and has opened networking opportunities and doors to success. Right now I’m excitedly waiting to see my first story in print in a soon-to-be-published short story collection. I’m also looking forward to continuing to level 7 when I’ll be working on a novel and short story collection. With all the support from NorthTec and my family, the sky is the limit now on my path to becoming a professional writer.”
“Although my Mum was a physiotherapist, and keeping active was a normal part of life for our family, it wasn’t until I went to St Peter’s College in Cambridge that my spark for this as a career really got lit. I was exposed to a broader range of sports and spent more time in a gym environment I then studied Sport and Recreation (Personal Training) to level 5 at Otago Polytech but returned to Northland and was reassessing my direction.”
“In the meantime, I was doing some part time work running fitness classes and doing some voluntary work when my employer encouraged me to upskill to level 7 to become more employable. So I signed on here and I love the small classes and how hands-on our learning is. We have practical workshops with guest speakers, we do personal training, we learn about sports performance, strength and conditioning, sports science, coaching, and nutrition. We also had the opportunity to have workshops with Turbo Touch, Northland Cricket, Far North CrossFit, Manaia Fitness, and we have work placements.”
“Part of our curriculum involves volunteering at community events and we recently helped out with the Lions Tour and ran a Turbo Touch tournament in schools. We’re also in partnership with Sports Northland programmes so we can help with things like the Weetbix Triathlon and the Run/Walk series. These activities all give us experience and build confidence in our ability to apply what we learn.”
“The learning process is a challenge for me because I’ve got dysgraphia which means I have poor comprehension and have trouble getting my ideas across in a systematic order, so the tutors and NorthTec’s Student Success have really supported me with this.”
“As students we’re constantly working in small groups doing presentations, projects, or group fitness so the interpersonal level is high and we have a synergy like a family. I’m surprised at how much growth, knowledge and life experience I’ve gained through the course, and at how broad the course is. I’ve also learned to be adaptable to new ideas because initially I thought I only wanted to do group fitness and personal training but I’m finding I enjoy working with children and youth. I like keeping them engaged and enjoying physical and mental activities.”
“I already volunteer as a youth coach for football and tennis teams, and when I finish the course I’ll either do more work with youth, go into the Police Force, be an outdoor contractor working somewhere like Outward Bound, or do some post-graduate study in sport or teaching.”
“My overarching interest though is in helping people keep physically active from a young age so they can keep mentally healthy. Youth drop-off levels in sport are relatively high now, especially with the use of technology and parents struggling to run children around, and it’s concerning because physical activity is a fundamental part of keeping healthy on every level.”
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