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“I wanted to work in a trade and I wanted something that would make me think, so I looked into uni but it wasn’t for me. I’m from up north and lived on a farm so I knew some of the basics of electrical engineering and knew I was interested. A couple of friends also applied for the course here so I signed up and it’s just what I wanted.”
“We learn a lot of cool stuff about motors, lighting and cool-storage and even my maths is better than I thought because the info is applied to something. When I finish the course I will apply for an apprenticeship which I think will be easier to get after this pre-training.”
“Electrical engineering is really broad and it’s too soon to know which area I’ll focus on but at the moment I’m looking at industry which seems more varied than domestic work.”
Pene Burns-Kingiwaiaua came to NorthTec from the advice given to him from this mother.
“She saw the potential in me. So when I finished year 12, I came straight into the Construction programme at NorthTec Kaitaia.
“The best thing about being at NorthTec is that it is close to home, I didn’t have to move away from my family. My motivation comes from my family - they are my biggest supporters and they only want the best for me, so they keep me on track.
“I’m pretty confident this programme has prepared me for a job or an apprenticeship because it is real hands-on and we do all the necessary paperwork we need to know in real-life situations.
“I like everything about this programme – the building, the people in my class because we are all here for the same reason, and my tutors. We have really good tutors, they help me with anything I need help with, and if I’m lucky, I’ll get a laugh out of them.
“I like building because I can see something being built from scratch, then I can look back on it and say I built that!”
Armand van Rooyen is going to be a social worker. He wants to work with youth and families, because as a youth he would have like some extra support.
“I felt a need to help other people in my life. I just want to be the change I want to see in the world, I guess.”
To become a social worker and to help others, Armand needs to start from the beginning. After moving to New Zealand with his family when he was 7 years old, Armand struggled with his English and learning in school.
“I dropped out of school at NCEA level 2, so I need to first compete the Study & Career Prep programme at NorthTec. Not being in school for a couple of years has made it a bit challenging, especially essay writing, but that’s where the support at NorthTec comes in. My tutors are so helpful and on to it, and the whole class is like a little family as well. We all help each other out, we don’t judge anyone – it’s just a supportive culture.”
Armand has studied with NorthTec before, completing a NZ Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory, but after 2 weeks into his apprenticeship, an accident involving a longboard made Armand rethink his career.
“I had to have two surgeries on my wrist and the surgeon advised against physical activity so the apprenticeship was out. But it made me realise that I did want to help others and I am glad it has taken me on this study journey.
“I like studying at NorthTec because it’s close to home. This course will build up my foundational knowledge and then I’m excited to go on and study my Bachelor’s and then onto my Master’s and then I would love to even pursue a PhD!”
“In the north we have a huge reliance on our vehicles to get to work and take our families and ourselves to where we need or want to be. Maintaining our vehicles is expensive so a lot of people either don’t use them and withdraw from the outer world – including work - or drive them in an unsafe condition. I see a need there that I may be able to help with.”
“My work background has been in admin and in early childhood and I was looking for something different. I retired in Auckland a few years ago then got some spiritual guidance to move up here. Some kids in a gateway programme I was involved in told me about this course and suggested I could do level 2 and 3. I had watched YouTube videos enough to fix my own car but I’ve never really been very hands-on, so this was a challenge for me.”
“However, I’m now learning a lot and starting to understand how cars work. I’ve done a lot of health work with medical missionaries and now I compare the physiology of a car with that of the body. The life blood of the car is oil. If our blood is clogged or toxic we’re unhealthy, and if a car’s oil is dirty the car is unhealthy.”
“Doing the paperwork for the unit standards is a challenge for me but my daughters are now helping me with my study. I enjoy our class and it’s a good balance of seriousness and a lot of laughs in a well-resourced environment.”
“When I complete the course I hope to have the knowledge and confidence to help our community with keeping their cars on the road in an affordable way. Ngapuhi health and social services have yet to acknowledge the huge dependence we have up here on our vehicles. I’ve seen too many people driving around with no brakes or no warrant of fitness because they can’t afford the repairs and need to get to work.”
“I’d love to start a type of ‘Man Cave’ for vehicles where people can bring their car in and I can diagnose what’s wrong and give some idea of what it would cost to fix it. I would then discern if there was something in the way of getting it fixed (finances, health etc.) and then help get that sorted out. I could also maybe advise a family when they are trying to decide what the best value car for them to buy is. Getting this ticket would be a start to validating my knowledge and my role. Things are still in the exploratory stage but already there is some interest from local organisations.”
Patricia came to NorthTec to support her two boys with a dream of owning her own transporting company.
“I’ve always loved driving and after completing my Class 2 Driving Certificate with the Salvation Army, I was able to complete my Class 4 Driving Certificate by completing this course. Some people tell me I could have completed my Class 4 a lot faster, but with NorthTec’s course I have so much more knowledge about the trucks themselves and how everything works which is a massive advantage.
“NorthTec’s tutors also have great connections and networks with people locally and throughout New Zealand that can help us get a foot in the door of the industry as students. I was able to gain some work experience with Manganui Logging Trucks, which is an invaluable experience for me.
“I just know this is where my future is – in driving and starting my own trucking company, I can see the end goal in sight and I’m going on to complete my Class 5 certificate as well.
“The best part has to be the driving throughout the course, we do a lot of practical work, because that’s the nature of what we are studying. It’s great being part of the class - we all study together and have shared lunches - it’s a really nice family-orientated environment here at the Kaitaia campus.”
“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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