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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.”
“If anyone has been out of the work look for a while, studying at NorthTec is a good place to start back into it...
“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.”
“The tutors here are very understanding and kind, even with logistics like a tutor doing home drop-offs for some of...
“You’re never too old to change it up. I had been in retail for 20 years then had some digestion issues so took some time out and started doing some plastering for a builder. It was less demanding physically and mentally, so I looked at my strengths and decided house painting was something I could do.”
“I’m amazed at how satisfying it is. There’s a real sense of accomplishment to see what you’ve done at the end of the day and there’s plenty of scope to advance in skill levels. We also cover a lot more than I was expecting – learning about scaffolding and health and safety.”
“The tutors here are very understanding and kind, even with logistics like a tutor doing home drop-offs for some of us on his way to and from work because, in our case, our family shares one vehicle. There’s a big support net here at NorthTec too from nurses, advisors and financial guides that makes me feel very at home. The other students are also very accepting and, as a mature student, it’s humbling getting to know some of the younger ones.”
“Now that I’ve got my confidence I may go on to level 3 with some of the other students, then I’d like to start working in this industry before starting my own business. In the meantime, I feel I’m also being a role model to show my kids how we can adapt to life’s changes and still progress. I’m a father of two and so I have responsibilities at home, and the temporary dip in income while I study impacts us all. But my wife is proud and I’m loving what I’m learning and the possibilities ahead.”
“I now look forward to Mondays to learn more, and I find rolling paint on walls soothing and very satisfying.”
“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.”
“My advice to anyone thinking about coming to study is – stick to what you’re passionate about!”
“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!”