All or Nothing for Automotive Student

July 25, 2023
July 25, 2023

Hayley decided she wanted to go somewhere with her life and career. Despite having dropped out of high school young, she enrolled for study with NorthTec | Te Pūkenga to learn to be an automotive mechanic and she hasn’t looked back.

“My mum passed away when I was 7,” explains Hayley. “I have 3 younger siblings and I had to step up and take on that role as an extra parent. I dropped out of school when I was about fifteen so that I could take care of my siblings.”

With all her siblings now doing well in life, Hayley decided it was time to do something for herself. That’s when she signed up for the NZ Certificate in Automotive Engineering at NorthTec | Te Pūkenga’s Kaitaia campus.

“My Grandfather always used to bring me into his workshop and teach me what he knew. He’d say then I wouldn’t need a man to help me, I can help myself. When I decided to study, I wanted to do something that made my grandfather proud. He was like another parent to me, especially after my mum died.”

Despite having left school before getting NCEA and having had little exposure to higher learning, Hayley still pushed herself to enrol in a course.

“I didn’t think it was an option for me before now. I didn’t have high hopes for it. But I was on site, and I enrolled and got through the interview, and met the tutor. But it was a scary time.”

It was all or nothing for Hayley. She has never been one to not apply herself fully to any given task and this was no different.

“The first day was hard,” she recalls. “I have social anxiety and I was nervous starting out. My mother died in a car accident, so I have PTSD around that too. But it’s been such a good experience.  The course is just one big happy family. Everyone is lovely and welcoming, and it makes you forget any anxieties you might have. I’ve changed so much as a person through this course.

This course has brought me out of the hole that I was in. I’m a better person. I can be confident. I can be myself. I can dance down the street if I want to. You wouldn’t recognise me before.”

Looking at her now, it’s hard to picture Hayley as a socially anxious person. She’s not only the life of party, with big smiles and friendly banter with her fellow learners, but she is also the campus Student Representative, working with the Student Voice team to help provide aid and opportunities to other ākonga.

It’s through her role as a student representative that she ended up planning an event for her fellow Automotive learners.

“My Uncle works for Tesla, and I asked him to come in to course and talk to everyone. I want my fellow students to see that anyone can make it to the top. We all have so much potential. My uncle came from a small town, and I wanted him to show people where you can go if you put your mind to it.”

Hayley’s Uncle works as a top engineer at Tesla and currently lives in the USA. He was already visiting family in New Zealand and was happy to come in and chat with Hayley’s classmates. He not only discussed some in-depth engineering theories with the rapt audience, but he also shared with them key points from his own journey.

“I hope hearing his story will help motivate others to work hard towards their dreams,” says Hayley. “You can do anything you set your mind to. If anyone is thinking about studying, I say just go for it. Give it a go, you won’t regret it.”

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