Building hopes and dreams
When Teokotai Aporo (pictured) discovered school was not for him, he looked to the Pacific Employment Support Service (PESS) to help him achieve his dream of becoming a qualified builder.
Born in the Cook Islands, Teokotai moved with his family to New Zealand when he was four.
Fast forward time to secondary school, and Teokotai found he was struggling with the workload and demands placed on him.
“I attended Aorere College in 2016, but left during Term Two because all the classes I had taken didn’t really suit me,” he explains.
“The work I was doing was hard and I couldn’t cope with it – that is the main reason I left.”
During school Teokotai had set the goal to become a builder, so when he left Aorere College, achieving the dream felt out of reach for the young man.
However, things changed for Teokotai when he started the PESS programme later on in 2016.
PESS helps young Pacific people in Auckland and Hamilton find sustainable employment, education or training opportunities by working with four providers - InWork, SENZ, Skills Update and Training Institute and Solomon Group.
These providers will motivate, train and match young people to jobs or education that best fit them.
“PESS supported me to get back on track with learning and focusing on career goals, and it helped me set goals to achieve what steps I needed to get there.”
Through PESS, Teokotai did literacy and numeracy tests and found his reading, learning, writing and numeracy was quite low, so he registered with Pathways Awarua to help improve these areas, he explains.
Although it was not easy getting back into study, when the Skills Update team and PESS helped Teokotai enrol and get started in a Building and Construction course, he found he was truly motivated to learn.
“I really enjoy my course - they have everything to keep me busy – games room, gym and workshops.
“My favourite time is when we do practicals in the workshop – when what we learn in class is put to the test.”
Teokotai’s Building and Construction tutor Sam says Teokotai is a respectful student, who brings a good attitude to the classroom environment.
“He is a great student to work with and he is also good with theory and practical and he has the best attendance out of all the students.”
Through PESS, Teokotai’s dream of becoming a qualified builder in the near future is so much more real, and for that, he is grateful.
Visit MPP for more information on the PESS initiative.