On Friday the 31st, 2020, the staff and students of Te Ara o Takitimu engaged in an all-day welcoming hui, Kua Takoto Te Manuka. This was the final step in the scholarship application process. Te ara o Tākitimu is a trade training programme aimed at supporting more Māori and Pasifika students to engage in a trades related career.
Coordinator, Rhys Thurston, described the day as “a time for us to come together to learn and talk about resilience and overcoming barriers related to training”. The day included hours of entertainment, ngā whāinga (goal setting) and inspirational speeches from guests.
After formalities, the students joined in on some fun icebreakers. Student success navigator, Rachel Mohi shared “if nothing else, seeing the students making new bonds with other students is just awesome to see. In the beginning, they were a bit withdrawn but by the afternoon everyone seemed more confident and engaged with each other”.
Māori and Pasifika Mentor, Chris Treacher held a series of inspiring workshops and discussions. A key focus of this kaupapa was mental preparation and student wellbeing. Chris used a valuable analogy about basketball, “you can have a bad shooting day, but you can’t have a bad effort day”. He encouraged the students to make an effort, even on bad days. An open discussion on the barriers of success, as well as strategies to overcome them ensued.
The chief aim of this initiative is to prepare students for the workforce. Students were fortunate to have two mana wāhine and former Te Ara o Takitimu students, Anointte Rameka and Casey Aranui visit and share their experiences. Anointte shared that “with the help of Te Ara o Takitimu, I’ve accomplished what I wanted to do. The support network was awesome and I thank everyone for helping me to achieve even when I was struggling”.
Casey shared her experience as a female in trades, “There’s a lot of people who will think you cant do it, but my resilience comes from my family, and having my why. Why I get out of bed in the morning and just always remembering that”.
Students and staff alike were delighted by the guest appearance of record artist and mechanic, Sid Diamond. He shared his experiences in developing from the music industry to trades, the importance of whanau and breaking generational cycles. "It's all about what you want in life and what you want to work for." He discussed the difficulty of entering a new trade but said the pride that came with breaking through hardship was invaluable. “I get to show my son that his dad works hard and that he should work hard for something in his life too”.
Work Broker, Claire Hodson said “Today, the level of engagement from both the students and guest speakers were incredible. They offered some brilliant insight into the ins-and-outs of being successful in their trades. I think the students and guests alike were very inspired by their interactions.”
Students left the day inspired and geared with some new insights and techniques. Many students said they felt more equipped to take on their study and were excited about the new connections they had made with other students and staff of Te Ara o Tākitimu.