Three newly-qualified welding and fabrication students have found full-time employment at D&H Steel thanks to their hard work – and help from their MPTT navigator.
Robert Rudolph, Valusaga Iopu and Atanasia Galiga were offered jobs at D&H Steel after demonstrating their work readiness skills through unpaid work experience during the last few months of their course.
Work experience is a great way to get to know potential employers and show you’re ready to be hired. Although it’s usually unpaid, you’ll get valuable experience to add to your CV – or even better, a job offer at the end of it.
It’s tough finding work when you’re just starting out and have no contacts in the industry. That’s why the MPTT programme ensures trainees aren’t doing it alone.
Each trainee has a navigator who’s there to offer advice, mentoring, and help finding employment.
“We all met and travelled out together,” says Tu. “I prepared them beforehand, such as making sure they were ready to ask questions about the work and apprenticeships.”
The visit turned into an informal job interview, with D&H Steel offering the trainees valuable work experience.
“The guy showing them around got an inkling that these are quality guys, so he said yep, you can start working here. He said, ‘You won’t get paid and it’s 10-hour days, but if you want to be here you can come.’ All the trainees signed up.”
Robert, Valusaga and Atanasia made time to do one or two days of work experience each week for the last three months of their course.
Work experience is a great way for trainees to show an employer they’re ready to work and have a positive attitude.
“It makes it easier to get the job,” says Valusaga, aged 29. “The boss knows you’re a hard worker and can see you’re keen.”
The trainees quickly impressed their future boss with their enthusiasm and willingness to work, says Tu.
“They just wanted to get out there and work, and even took on some night shifts to check it out.
“Because of their attitude, the boss was very happy. He said, ‘These guys you gave us are amazing – they’ve showed their colours and commitment and I’m happy to offer them jobs’. He could see they were work-ready so he picked them up.”
Work experience is one way to show your value as an employee and get started in a trade, and the hard work can lead to much bigger things, says Tu.
“These trainees have families and they’re working really hard to do something big. So they bought into the idea of personal sacrifice. They’re driving their own futures and will one day be able to get qualified and start their own businesses.”
Amped to work
Valusaga, who is now working full-time at D&H Steel, had been working at a general engineering company as a labour hand. When he heard about the MPTT scholarship, he decided to gain his New Zealand Certificate in Mechanical Engineering.
He stopped working while he was studying, which became more difficult when he and his wife had a baby on the way – a daughter now age 5. But Valusaga saw the value in doing work experience to build his skills, get to know a potential employer, and get his foot in the door.
“I saw the environment at D&H Steel was really good. They’re really friendly and the manager, Cameron, was real good to us.”
Valusaga – whose mother is from Saleimoa on the Samoan island of Upolu and his father from Sale’aula on the island of Savai’i – now has his sights set on an apprenticeship, which he is due to discuss with his new boss after three to six months of full-time work.
“It worked out well,” says Tu. “They’re starting jobs and will eventually move into apprenticeships.”
Even now that they’ve earned full-time jobs, these hard-working trainees will continue to be coached by Tu. This will help them to continue to advance in their careers.
“That’s the beauty of navigation,” says Tu. “Because we build trusting relationships with the trainees, we can actually see their shortcomings. So we can always be telling them the areas they need to improve and we can speak that into them.
“We look at the person, not necessarily the skills. Hopefully if they’ve got a dream and a goal, we just encourage them to keep aspiring to that.”
He says the trainees have put in the hard yards and are now reaping the benefits – and as a navigator, he’ll continue to offer his support.
“I just want to encourage them that they can do it and I think that’s where the navigation comes in. Our role is to keep telling them they can do this. Then they know they’re supported so if they fall over, they know there’s someone there to help them back up.”