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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.”
I love it here every day. There’s heaps about painting I didn’t realize – the prepping, plastering, learning about...
“I love it here every day. There’s heaps about painting I didn’t realize – the prepping, plastering, learning about the paints and safety. It’s all a challenge and that’s what I like about it.”
“I also get to work in my own town. I know the other bros and the tutor and I’ve started on a learning process that I enjoy enough to take further.”
“I’ll start by helping to paint my Mum’s house then I’ll get straight into work. My uncles are painters in Auckland and I’m happy to do any type of painting work. The further I look into this, the further I realize it can take me.”
“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 best part of this course is that we’re out there doing up a community building in town, not just sitting in a...
“The best part of this course is that we’re out there doing up a community building in town, not just sitting in a classroom. We got some experience here first stripping down and painting some old church pews, and we had to organise the business side of the town job sorting out things like the scaffolding and pricing, but we mostly learn by doing.”
“I’ve always loved painting, changing things around, art and drawing. I’ve been farming for my grandparents and working in my Dad’s engineering shop in town, but I’m keen to learn more about painting and there’s a lot of work for brush hands at the moment.”
“I surprised at how much I’m enjoying learning. I was home schooled and I hated school so I didn’t think I liked learning, but this is so applied and I now want to keep learning. It was awesome meeting all the students and the tutor is so encouraging and doesn’t leave anyone behind. The tutor’s motto is ‘Achieving together’.”
“As soon as I finish the course I want to get a job painting and I’ll go on and do level 4 which gets into paint spraying, wall-papering and plastering. There’s lot of painting and trade work around at the moment and the pay is good if you’re efficient and know what you’re doing. Already my nana wants me to paint her house.”
“I’ll keep learning, get more experience and see where it takes me.”
It’s a challenge for me to show up every day and stay with it but it’s worth it. I’ve met heaps of new people because...
“Painting is really satisfying. Doing the level 2 course got me hooked so now I’m giving this next level a shot.”
“It’s a challenge for me to show up every day and stay with it but it’s worth it. I’ve met heaps of new people because we go out painting on the job. I enjoy the team we work with and the people we meet out there.”
“I want to become self-employed after this and long term I’d love to be a tutor and give others the gift of painting.”
I’m feeling competent and confident. I know what I need to do, in what sequence, and how to price it.
“My Dad’s a painter so I’ve been painting since I was a teenager and basically have the advantage of knowing what I’m doing. I decided to do the course because I want to learn different ways of doing things, upskill, learn to use different gear and get qualifications so I can take on bigger job contracts.”
“I love painting so I really enjoy the course. It’s opened my eyes to other ways to prep aside from Dad’s way. I’m also learning to use the spray gun which is something Dad always did, and I’m surprised to find I’m actually quite good at it.”
“Our class is a mixed crew and we all work together and learn from each other. I can help some of the young fellas with some tips and with their paperwork. The tutor is thorough and he’s an ace man. I ask him lots of questions. He knows I’m interested and he encourages me with uplifting comments and helpful extra info.”
“Getting this qualification means I will have something behind me that says I’ve got this. I want to start connecting with builders and painters to get jobs and I want to also learn how to plaster. I’m feeling competent and confident. I know what I need to do, in what sequence, and how to price it.”
“I’m ready to take on a contract of my own now so I’ll advertise by word of mouth and start doing work on Thursdays and Fridays which are our work experience days. My dream is to own my own business and employ people. There’s a big demand for this trade now and I feel equipped to help meet that.”
As part of the course we students work together on a house for work experience and we work well as a team. We’re a...
“I did an agriculture course first but I liked painting when I was young. The best part of this painting course is learning how to do things properly by physically doing them. There’s a lot more to rolling than I thought – especially rolling a ceiling.”
“As part of the course we students work together on a house for work experience and we work well as a team. We’re a good mix of ages and backgrounds. I’m surprised that I’m quite good and steady at cutting in.”
“When I finish the course I’m hoping to get a job painting and then want to get an apprenticeship. By getting knowledge and experience in painting we can apply that to our own houses in the future without having to pay someone else.”
“We have family land so the dream for me is to spend my life both painting and farming, and ultimately be able to make my own place.”
“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!”
When you’ve been stuck, the first step is the hardest. Once you’re over that, you’re flying!
“We’re painting our town. Really. I love seeing the houses go from pretty run down to really nice. And the best part is that it’s our own town so we know the people inside. It’s changing the feel of where we live.”
The NorthTec painting course in Moerewa is part of the Tū Te Aroha project using ‘helping hands’ within the community to upgrade their homes. “The biggest surprise was that my family house got painted too. It was painted inside and out, plus got some other carpentry upgrades.”
“I‘m not good at taking to new things, so stepping up to do the intro level course first in Kaikohe was a huge challenge for me. The tutors were very supportive and helped me get confidence and now I’m doing the next level which includes working to improve our town’s housing.”
“As part of our painting course we also learn some finishing skills and a bit of basic carpentry. I’ve seen what the carpenters do out on the job so I’m now keen to get into a building course when I finish this. I want to get the skills so I can do renovations and flip houses. It’s so satisfying to see the change.’’
“My dream is to work for myself so later I may to do some business training. When you’ve been stuck, the first step is the hardest. Once you’re over that, you’re flying!”