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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.”
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!”
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.”
Sihua is transitioning from a background in hospitality to a new career in architecture. “I’ve been a café manager in the Town Basin for seven years but the work hours meant my husband and I were hardly seeing each other. He works as an architectural draughtsman Monday to Friday whereas in hospitality we’re often working weekends.”
“I was also ready for a change and because I’m good at maths, I was wondering about accounting or architecture. I’m interested in drawing and my husband was encouraging me towards architecture - and did his training in this same course - so I signed up and I’m really enjoying it.”
“The best aspect for me is that the whole industry is so broad with lots of potential work options. The study here though is full-on so I had to give up my part-time café work but may be able to pick it up again in the holidays. Because I don’t have a building background, I found the technical building language a challenge at first but my tutors, my husband, and some of the students with building experience helped me through that.”
“I’m really looking forward to getting into a career with more family friendly hours and better earning potential, and when I finish the course I hope to get a job to gain some experience. Later I may go on to get an architecture degree in Auckland, and the long term dream is for my husband and me to have an architectural design business where I specialise in domestic design while he focuses on commercial design.”
“Making the decision to study Nursing as a mature student is a hard call that can have serious ramifications – and very satisfying rewards. It requires preparedness. Prepare to be challenged in your workload, your relationships and your life. Prepare to be inspired - by the tutors, the students and the patients. And, prepare to be successful and rise to the responsibilities that come with that.”
“I had worked in the public service for 10 years before deciding I was ready for a career rather than a job, and to get myself up to speed for studying I began with the Foundation course. Now that I’ve nearly completed my nursing degree, I realise how special the journey has been.”
“One of the stand-outs is the way the course is structured. Each bracket has an over-arching theme so the papers come together really well. Within that structure, the tutors hold us close at the beginning while we find our feet, then they gradually loosen their grip and walk beside us until we’re ready to walk on ahead without them. It’s quite beautiful.”
“The workload is quite intense at times so balancing life and study can be a challenge, and another challenge for me has been myself. I’ve often been in my own way by either over-thinking or under-thinking things but the tutors and the work itself helped me get things back into perspective.”
“The holistic nature of nursing is embedded in the curriculum and it was a surprise to learn social work and personal skills to put in our kete of taonga. We now get to bring - and be - those things in both our work and our families. I loved too that our course includes students from different cultures and we all bring different dishes to feast from at the same table. We lean on each other and to push each other. Sometimes we were in step and sometimes we were off beat, but somehow we all managed to come together in the end.”
“When I graduate, I’m interested in doing further training so I can work in oncology, but in the meantime I’ll continue with my local community work. This gives me creative ideas about how I can best help and maybe I’ll blaze a new trail with these nursing skills. I’m learning that life is about being the best version of you.”
“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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