Father-of-four Andrew Leota always knew his true passion was in the trades. The 34-year-old had dabbled in other jobs while he focused on his kids, who are aged between one and eight. But last year, Andrew decided it was time to find an outlet for the hands-on skills he’s passionate about.

“I thought to myself, I’m not getting any younger. Now I want to do something that makes me happy – and it’s always been electrical.”

Powering up

Andrew, who received a scholarship from Māori and Pasifika Trades Training: Auckland (MPTT Auckland), is due to finish his Level 4 training at Manukau Institute of Technology this month.

Having previously worked as an air traffic controller in Samoa and as a youth worker for the Ministry for Vulnerable Children in New Zealand, Andrew already has years of work experience under his belt.

This has given him a solid foundation of work readiness skills, from time management to teamwork.

Armed with these skills and his new qualification, Andrew is now keen to find his first job in the industry.

Taking charge

Andrew is committed to putting in the hard yards to create a solid foundation for his trades career.

“Some people think once you get a qualification, you have to hit the top and be the boss straight away. But when you’re a new employee, even though you’ve finished school there’s always plenty more learning involved.

“You need to do less attractive jobs and you have to learn from that sort of work. I think people need to understand that, because getting qualified is a lot of work.”

Andrew’s future goals include completing an apprenticeship and eventually starting a business of his own.

“I want to do it properly – get the papers and qualifications and be confident in what I’m doing. Looking towards the future, I want to be my own boss.”