Getting A into G for family

Steve Tahu, shortly after receiving his National Certificate in Business from the Napier and Hastings Mayors.

Steve Tahu is glad his days as a seasonal part-time worker are long behind him.

Steve, who recently earned an NCEA National Certificate in Business (First Line Management) Level 4, was one of more than 50 graduates from a range of industries who attended a special Mayors’ Taskforce for Jobs graduation ceremony at Lindisfarne College, Hastings, last week.

The annual ceremony celebrates the success of people who have completed training while working; through courses, apprenticeships and cadetships.

Being laid off just after his wife gave birth to their second child spurred the former meat works butcher into action. “I had to get my A into G and do whatever it took to be a better provider for my family and ultimately a better father, husband and person.”

He applied for the automotive pre-trade course at EIT Hawke’s Bay, then moved to Truck Stops where he completed a diesel apprenticeship over three years. His Certificate took a year to complete. “They gave me so many different opportunities and inspired me to believe that I could go further and do better.”

Steve has been working at Hydralada Hastings for over a year now, which has been great for furthering his knowledge of hydraulics, and also allowing him family time on weekends.

 “I've done some amazing things that I never would have believed I could do. It excites me to think of what else I can achieve because I'm just getting started.”

Quinton Harmer is another whose dedication to work and study has paid off.

His employer, Humes (Fletcher Concrete & Infrastructure Ltd), offered him the opportunity to study through BCITO, the largest provider of construction trade apprenticeships in the country.

He became the first person in New Zealand to complete the National Certificate in Concrete Pipe Manufacturing, and he did so in 16 months, much quicker than expected. He also picked up Unit Standards, and a nomination as Concrete Apprentice of the Year, along the way.

Quinton recently completed a National Certificate in Competitive Manufacturing Level 4, and is now deciding whether to progress to the Level 5 Certificate. He has some advice for people who may be wondering if further education is right for them. “If you study hard and work hard it’s worth it.”

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton and Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule were on stage to hand out the certificates to the 56 graduates who attended the ceremony. They represented a range of industries such as healthcare, retail, infrastructure, and telecommunications, including a group of 11 from Vanuatu who had completed a National Certificate in Horticulture (Introductory, Level 1 or 2).

They were joined by family members, employers, industry representatives and trainers. The ceremony was overseen by Todd Rogers, Head of Trades at Eastern Institute of Technology, with Reihana Manaena from Laser Plumbing & Electrical Napier as guest speaker.

The graduates are living proof of the saying “you’re never too old to learn”, says Mayor Bill Dalton, who . “I hope their success will be an inspiration to others.”

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule says “the ceremony is a great opportunity for us to recognise the considerable effort put in by these graduates to improve their knowledge and skills, whilst also committing to their workplaces. We congratulate them on their achievements.”

The Mayors Taskforce began in 2000. A voluntary organisation, its vision is for all under 25 year olds to be engaged in appropriate education, training, work or other positive activity in their communities.

The Taskforce’s other activities include mentoring youth to develop and enhance their leadership skills, supporting driver licensing courses in high schools, and employment initiatives to ensure young people know where the jobs are, and have the right skills to become employed.

The Taskforce has grown from a group of just seven of New Zealand’s mayors to now include all of New Zealand’s 67 Mayors.