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“I was working full time in an ordinary job and wanted an education in something that was mine to do. Nursing is it for me and I got accepted for both Auckland and here but chose to come to NorthTec because of the more flexible curriculum and fewer financial barriers. I had no qualifications and minimal family or other support, so the complete wrap-around support I’ve received here is something I’ve never experienced in my life before.”
“I’ve made new friends and have set myself on a whole new life path. I was an urbanized Māori and NorthTec really enables Māori to succeed. I also didn’t know my Māori culture so I have been able to learn more about that than I ever knew before.”
“During the course of my study I’ve had some personal issues that have made the course 10 times harder than it needed to be, but I knew I could reach out and get support. If I had been studying at any other place, I would have left. With that support, I’m amazed at how confident I’ve become. Our class is more like a family. This course tears you down and builds you up - but in a good way.”
“The education I’ve gained here is far broader than our nursing training. It’s also an education about life and services. I’m caring for my younger siblings and being at NorthTec has helped me find resources that are available to support that. The facilities here are so accessible and the tutors here are flexible enough to accommodate all walks of life.”
“When I graduate as a Registered Nurse, I want to get a job to get some general nursing experience, then I want to work in sexual health. There is so much need in that area and any further training is mostly on the job.”
“NorthTec has given me the confidence to build on my education and to become successful. We are valued here and our thoughts are valued. For Māori students, there is a positive pathway to success that you wouldn’t see anywhere else.”
“I couldn’t find work for about two years so was looking at what to study to upskill and NorthTec had the biggest range of options. I’m loving it - especially the practical work we do out and about on real jobs so we learn by doing, with the theory woven in as we go.”
“Keeping on top of the study was hard for me at the start but, with the tutor’s support, I’m top of it now and I’m amazed at how confident I’ve become. Confidence affects everything and makes life easier and smoother. If anyone has been out of the work look for a while, studying at NorthTec is a good place to start back into it again. ”
“Our class works really well together as a team and we all rotate tasks like masking, painting and plastering so everyone keeps up with everything. We laugh a lot but still meet the expected standards. Getting this qualification will show both myself and anyone I work for that I can do quality work.”
“I hope to get an apprenticeship when I finish and the tutor has contacts to help that happen. My dream is to know how to plaster and paint really well, and when I’ve got more experience, to have my own business and employ others.”
When Curtis Mehana finished school, he tried his hand at automotive engineering and worked in the demolition industry before finding his passion in painting and art.
“I love studying. I’ve already finished an automotive engineering course in Kaitaia and now I am finishing this Painting course, and I want to move to Whangarei next year to start a Bachelor of Visual Arts.”
With his artistic flair, Curtis realised a passion for art when as a class project, the students painted the buildings of the Kaitaia campus.
“This has been my favourite part of this course. It’s hands-on and practical and we’re not always stuck in a classroom. It’s pretty cruisy too!”
Curtis’ determination to finish the course and get his certificate at the end has kept him going.
“My passion is learning and art, that’s what kept me going. Seeing the end result after you’ve finished painting makes it really rewarding as well.”
Curtis says his tutor has taught him a lot throughout the course. “Especially the prep work and how to get a surface ready for painting.”
“This course has prepared me really well for a job, I’d say I could probably walk into one straight after I’ve finished and we’re lucky because our tutor has given us a lot of referrals for different jobs.”
After working nearly 20 years in the hospitality industry as a waiter, bartender and managing bars and restaurants, Samuel wanted to learn the cookery side of the industry he loves.
“Having worked with people in the industry that had come through NorthTec’s Cookery programme, I have seen first-hand the quality of training they received, so coming to NorthTec was an easy choice for me.
“Since being here, I really like the facilities at NorthTec. It’s got everything you need to learn what you need to know about cookery and hospitality in general.
“I like the constant support I've received throughout my time here. As an older student, what I needed to help me succeed while studying was different to that of some of the other students, but I consistently felt like everyone at NorthTec was there to help if I ever needed it.
“The great team of tutors that give a lot of support and help us get through everything we need to learn to move on to the workplace. While we study we get real hands-on experience of the industry at various events which is very valuable – it gives us the insight into how everything works in real life, for example working in a real kitchen and working to time constraints.
“I’m getting a good grounding of knowledge to move into real work in a kitchen. I feel like there are good job prospects, from studying at NorthTec.
“The best part about studying at NorthTec is having such a high quality programme that I want to do without having to move to another town.”
Deeana Manu has wanted to become a nurse ever since her oldest daughter was born nine years ago. When she moved to Whangarei from Perth, Australia to be closer to her partner’s family, she realised it was now or never. “My daughter has been in and out of the health system her whole life. I wouldn’t have been able to get through it all without the support of the nurses and medical staff - they inspired me to want to pursue a career helping others. Now that my daughter is older and has the care she needs at school, I was able to start my nursing study.
“I worked as an orderly at a hospital in Perth but I knew I couldn’t start my degree there because I didn’t have a support network around me. I have three children so it is really important for me to have the support for all of us while I study. I chose to come to NorthTec because it is so close and convenient to my support network.
“I really love the tutors here on this programme, they are just amazing because you can go to them for help with anything. They make it as easy as possible because they want you to pass and do well. My classmates are just awesome, the support here is just incredible. It’s important for me to get that support because I haven’t been in a classroom for about 15 years and even when I was at school I wasn’t listening, so I was expecting this to be really hard, but I have surprised myself. Having smaller classes has been awesome because we have become such a tight-knit group.
“What is important to me to remember is that I’m not alone – my classmates, tutors and my family are all behind me wanting me to succeed and helping me as much as they can.
“The programme is pretty flexible. We have classes Monday to Wednesday and all of the course content and information is online for us to go through.
“Completing this programme will be a huge influence on my children. They are watching me do this and are already so proud of me. It will affect what they are going to do in their future, and for them to understand that hard work does pays off.
“Getting up in the morning and coming in and having a routine makes me feel like I have a purpose – because I am getting closer to my dream goal. Ultimately, after I am a Registered Nurse, I want to be a Paramedic or a Midwife.”
“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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