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Taukiri came to NorthTec to gain skills she could use on her own land. She first studied horticulture and is now completing the NZ Certificate in Carpentry.
“It’s all about living sustainably on the whenua for me,” she says.
Taukiri spent most of her working life in hospitality. She says: “It’s nice to hang up the waitressing piny and put a tool belt on - you get a lot more gear in it!
“I like the practical side of this course, it’s really hands on. I’m the oldest one in my class but that doesn’t bother me – you’re never too old to pick up something new.
“It has been difficult for me to be back in the classroom after over 30 years, but the tutors have been really awesome in helping me with the process. The whole class is really encouraging and we all help each other. I wouldn’t of come back to complete my level 3 certificate after the level 2 if it wasn’t for their help and motivation, telling me I can do it. It’s really family-orientated here.
“My personal motivation is for me to show my kids and their kids about the importance of education. It wasn’t a priority when I was growing up, but it definitely is now.
“NorthTec has been great. After I’ve finished, I need to go out and put these skills I’m learning into practice. This course really does get you job-ready so everyone here can take up an apprenticeship or a job straight away.”
“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.”
I’m one of the youngest but we all get along because we’re interested in the same things. It’s one of the best...
“I love everything about this course. I like doing the hands-on work and the feeling of satisfaction when we’ve made something, and it’s a lot easier to learn here than at school because I can see why we need to know things. I remember building a table and chairs at school in construction and it was my favourite subject because it was so hands-on.”
“But it’s a real surprise that I’m doing construction now. I wanted to do engineering and mechanics but Dad suggested I do construction because I could always get a job and that I’d be outside instead of in a shed. I didn’t really want to but I agreed to do it. It seems he knew something, because I love it. I’m even happy to catch my sister’s school bus so that I can get here.”
“We’ve already been building things on-campus like tables, a saw-horse, and making a chiselled-out box for an oilstone. Making things gives you such a sense of achievement. The other students are really friendly and we all help each other, just as a group should. I’m one of the youngest but we all get along because we’re interested in the same things. It’s one of the best classes I’ve ever been in. Everyone is so relaxed and just getting on with it.”
“I want to carry on and do level 3 where we start building fences and a deck. By getting this ticket I’ll always be able to get work and I can still do engineering later or as a hobby and fix up an old car. Once I’ve had enough experience, my dream is to design and build my own house from scratch.”
“It’s so much easier to learn here than at school because we’re doing what we love, the tutors are really cool, and...
“I was doing construction as work experience at school for an hour a day and loving it so I knew I wanted to go into building. Some of my mates had done this course so I signed up straight after the school holidays.”
“It’s so much easier to learn here than at school because we’re doing what we love, the tutors are really cool, and we’re independent so we do the work because we want to not because we’re told to.”
“I’m the youngest in the course and it was hard at first because I had no mates here, but now we all know each other and get on well. When I finish here I hope to get an apprenticeship. The tutors have good connections to help with that but I’ll find my own as well.”
“My dream is to build my own house, be my own boss and have some people working for me. To other students out there that don’t like school but are into something else, I’d say go and do the training for what you’re interested in."
“The way I can study at NorthTec is just awesome – I’m able to study at NorthTec and learn from not just the tutors...
“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.”
“The best thing about being at NorthTec is that it is close to home, I didn’t have to move away from my family. I...
I’m at the end of my second year as an apprentice with Ken Topp Builders, so I come to block courses at NorthTec for...
“I’m at the end of my second year as an apprentice with Ken Topp Builders, so I come to block courses at NorthTec for two weeks twice a year. We also get four site visits a year where the tutors check that we’re accountable for the tasks we say we’ve done there.”
“I was initially going to be an engineer but I talked to a guy who said that building better lined up with my goals and aspirations, because I enjoy working outside and I want to become a business owner. I started building straight from school for another builder but I left in search of a more bespoke firm with bigger vision. Learning is a key component to where I want to go. I found Ken on the search and he had a vacancy at the time so he took me on, then suggested I do an apprenticeship. I jumped at the chance.”
“Ken employs a team of 17 but I work mostly on jobs just with one other guy, so I learn a lot because we get to do everything. Doing the block courses is great because the tutor breaks things down and gives us the why. I love knowing stuff and I’m good at retaining information so I enjoy the paperwork too. At the moment we’re learning about steel grades and concrete slabs. I love it. If you’re a labourer, you go to work to work, but I know the qualification is important to really get somewhere.”
“My growth has been in the extent of what I’ve learnt. On site we do a lot, including hanging doors and steps, but the block courses give us the opportunity to push past what we know, to make mistakes and to learn from them. On the job, mistakes matter so you tend to stay safe in what you tackle.”
“I continue to learn on site and I’m now in charge of safety and compliance. Because there are just two of us in our team and we do architectural builds, we’re working on the same house for months and it’s very satisfying knowing you’ve created most of that building.”
“I’m saving up to buy my own house to renovate and sell, so at the moment I’ve started doing my own jobs in the weekends to earn extra money. I also recently built a cabin and sold it so that was a big learning curve. I love the mix of physical effort and mental learning, so working as an apprentice for Ken is perfect for that.”