Sparking a career

Himona Tutahi-Campbell (Te Ātiawa), or DJ to his friends, filled his days hanging out in the Hutt Valley after leaving school in 2005.

Career aspirations didn’t feature in DJ’s future plans, that is until he completed a course supported by Te Puni Kōkiri. The 18-year-old is now working as an apprentice electrical engineer and has his sights set on managerial responsibilities.

DJ was one of 10 rangatahi who were awarded scholarships last year to complete a pre-trade electrical and electronics skills course at the Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec).

The one-year course was a pilot project between WelTec, the Electro Technology Industry Training Organisation (ETITO), Tamaiti Whāngai and Te Puni Kōkiri.

WelTec provided course tuition and internal pastoral care to the students, ETITO set up the students’ work placements within the industry because of their extensive networks, Tamaiti Whāngai and Te Puni Kōkiri assisted with recruitment for the programme and supported rangatahi by maintaining ongoing contact, and Te Puni Kōkiri also contributed to the scholarship fund.

Te Puni Kōkiri’s Te Whanganui ā Tara regional director, Hata Wilson, says the aim of the programme was to increase Māori participation in the electrotechnology industry.

“The programme’s success mirrors the Māori Trade Training Schemes of former years by encouraging rangatahi to upskill in a trade and to secure a modern apprenticeship within the industry,” he says. “And I can confidently say that the programme has achieved what it set out to do and DJ is testament to that,” he says.

In DJ’s words, “When I studied for and passed my tests I knew I could really achieve something. My whānau and the people who supported me were my main motivation to succeed. This is going to get me somewhere in life and someday I’d like to buy my own home for the whānau.”

Initially DJ found the course difficult so he approached his tutors for extra lessons and other students helped him with his study. “I wanted to learn and I didn’t want to take the course for granted. I didn’t give myself the option of dropping out,” he says.

DJ’s immediate career goals are to finish his apprenticeship and qualification as he would like to become a site manager. “I want to have my own work van and tell my workers what to do,” says DJ.

This year WelTec, with support from ETITO, Tamaiti Whāngai and Te Puni Kōkiri, is continuing with the course.

DJ’s Career Advice for Rangatahi

Don’t be afraid to try something new. And if you do try something new don’t be ashamed if you make a mistake. That’s how you learn.

Do something you love. You don’t want to wake up every day knowing that you don’t like your job.

Don’t worry about other people around you. Just worry about yourself.

You have your good days and your bad days in a job but never give up. It’s part of working life.

Stay in school as long as you can. Learn maths, English and communications.