David Parsons – MPTT Kaitohutohu Ahumahi

David Parsons — MPTT Kaitohutohu Ahumahi
David Parsons is of Ngāpuhi decent, his marae is Taheke, he whakapapa’s to the Pou whānau. At MPTT he is our Kaitohutohu Ahumahi.
David has almost 20 years of experience with the BCITO (Building and Construction Training Organisation) helping people navigate the trades. He is delighted to join the MPTT project team so that he can give back to the sector he loves and help support Māori and Pasifika into trades.

David’s role is as an industry connector. He’ll be supporting tauira, providers, and employers to ensure strong, smooth progressions from pre-trades training to apprenticeships and beyond. 

He’ll help MPTT tauira take their next step once they have completed their pre-trade course with their navigators who together will help them find employment and an apprenticeship.

His long experience in the industry means he’s seen how much success spreads when trainees commit to the trades.

“Those who stay the distance to get qualified become sought after successful employers who inspire others to join the trades. This tuakana teina relationship is special to Māori and Pasifika and is immensely powerful.”

David acknowledges that it can be a challenge to persevere and get qualified, but he says the long-term gains are worth it.

David is here to help anyone who wants support seeing their apprenticeship or apprentice all the way through.

David also wants to encourage more Māori to step forward and put themselves out there. By doing so they can receive the support they need to succeed in the trades. “It’s about making things better for Māori and Pasifika,” he says. With David on the team, we’re sure to do more of that than ever.

MPTT Navigators help students reach their destination

Makahn with some of her MPTT students
All MPTT students have the support of an MPTT navigator, which not only sets our programme apart but also sets MPTT students apart when they start work. Our Navigators mentor students every step of the way through their studies so they graduate work-ready and poised to thrive.

We spoke with Navigator Makahn Warren-Chapman to hear more about what MPTT Navigators do. Makahn, who is Samoan, Māori (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Whakatōhea, Te Whānau a Apanui, Ngāi Te Rangi) and Irish, loves what she does. She sees her work as a way to give back to her community in South Auckland, helping people build new futures for themselves.

“In a nutshell, I hold a mentor role for students who are studying to become tradespeople. I’m here to ensure that they’re ready to leave their studies work-ready and they can start their careers,” says Makahn.

“The scope of support that MPTT offers through Navigators like me is quite wide. We’re there for students when they first start their pre-trades training, through to when they graduate, as they seek employment and find a placement in their chosen trade. We give face-to-face support, one on one meetings, and group workshops.”

A major goal of MPTT is to nurture more Māori and Pasifika into leadership positions, and this means setting them up well from the beginning. It includes helping people build confidence and know how to perform at their best.

Navigators walk alongside students

Makahn says she and her team consider the whole journey so they can give the right support at the right time.

“We offer specific support at different times during people’s study. For example, in the first part of the year, we start by getting to know the MPTT ākonga, what their goals are, and how we can make that happen by building individual pathways.”

Navigators support ākonga to identify anything that might stand in the way of their progress so they can help them make a plan to get past any obstacles. This includes things such as getting a driver’s licence and arranging childcare.

“One of the things we have identified is that people might not know how to write an effective CV, so we’ve developed a workshop that can assist with this. We also offer workshops about how to manage job interviews.”

Navigators help find and fix

Navigators are ready to advocate for ākonga in whatever way matters most.

“Sometimes people struggle just to put food on the table. So, we can connect them to food banks or food parcels.” Makahn says she’s also helped students understand what support options they might have for things such as devices.

“There are a few schemes that can help students with devices. We support ākonga to get their application for those and fill them out. We also help push their applications forward. We know that a lot of the time, our Māori and Pasifika students are kind of left on the outskirts and don’t know how to advocate for themselves. So, we do a lot of that.”

There’s one piece of advice she gives to every Māori and Pasifika student.

“Don’t be scared to ask for the support that you need. Some of us can be humble, and we tend to shy away from asking for help. But that help is available. And not only that, but providing support to MPTT students is our whole purpose as Navigators.

Makahn with other members of the MPTT Navigation team at a workshop held on Unitec’s campus

Plenty of pathways to explore

Makahn says an important part of her work is raising awareness of what potential pathways are available. Trades training can unlock a huge range of options.

“There are so many opportunities within the industry for Māori and Pasifika – more than people might realise.

“Some people have the idea that studying trades leads to only specific roles such as becoming a sparky or mechanic, but there are so many different pathways that open up. We work hard to help students gain awareness about all the career options training makes them eligible for.”

When students are ready to start work, the Navigators can help guide them through the process of gaining employment. Navigators act as a link between training institutes, students, and industry so they understand where job opportunities are and can help with placements.

Makahn says it’s important to consider the fit between the trainee and the employer. Navigators look at the culture of the workplace, what kind of support is offered, apprenticeship pathways and much more.

Once there’s a job offer, Navigators can help explain what it means. They can talk through how it might compare and expectations. This can give both ākonga and their whānau reassurance about their direction.

But the support doesn’t stop there. Navigators stay in touch as people settle into their positions, and graduates remain part of the Māori and Pasifika Trades Training community. There’s always useful information, opportunities, development and help on hand.  

Adventure awaits the ambitious

“One of the things I’d like for Māori and Pasifika people to know is that there is just so much out there. If they’re willing to do a little digging to create networks with others and maybe even step out of their comfort zone, they’ll find the opportunities they want.

“As a profession, the trades are evolving so quickly, and there are so many different roles and responsibilities within each area. It’s not an industry that’s stagnant – it’s always growing.”

And that’s why Makahn wants to see more trainees join the MPTT programme, to help them gain a qualification and build a career that will give them a stable and rewarding future.

Making his experience count

Vosa Pitasini, Refrigeration and Air conditioning
Vosa Pitasini started out water blasting, but ended up learning about refrigeration and air conditioning on the job. Before long, he’d built up valuable knowledge and skills in the trade. The only problem? He had no qualifications to back it up. Find out how Vosa is planning to turn his practical skills into legitimate qualifications, which he’ll then be able to use to start his own business.

For Vosa Pitasini, getting into the refrigeration and air conditioning trade was a case of being in the right place at the right time.

He’d been water blasting for a small business called Man and Machine Company Care, when his boss picked up some work with air con units. Vosa started helping out with the basics, like changing and cleaning filters.

“We were proactive about our work and if we noticed a job that needed to be done, we put it in our report. And so we just kept getting more work while we were on site. Slowly, our clients gave all their air con work to us.”

As the business grew, they hired experienced tradies, who taught Vosa more skills. Eventually, he was fully focused on the refrigeration and air con side of the business.

“I got to the stage where I could do it by myself. I had my own van and I did my own work. The problem was, I didn’t have any qualifications.”

The 36-year-old father of three has now started taking steps to get official recognition for his skills, which would open up his career options.

“As I’ve gone along, I’ve realised that it’s better that I go and get my papers now, before I get too old. I know what I’m doing but I’ve just been wandering around without any qualifications.”

Going legit

Vosa’s first step was to enrol in a pre-trades course at Manukau Institute of Technology, supported by an MPTT scholarship.

“The course was expensive, so the financial support from MPTT was a big, big help,” he says.

While completing the course in 2020, he heard about another pathway to getting qualified. Called the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) programme, it recognises relevant experience, along with skills and knowledge gained through training, work experience and life experience.

Getting his skills certified through RPL would mean Vosa could get qualified without doing an apprenticeship. Instead, his training organisation Competenz would formally assess the skills he’s already learned and, if the assessor is satisfied he meets all the requirements, award him a qualification.

Vosa says this is a better option for him than an apprenticeship, because with his experience, being an apprentice would seem like taking a step backwards.

“I don’t want to go back and do an apprenticeship, because I’ve pretty much already done my apprenticeship. But I just never got the accreditation. Through the Recognition of Prior Learning programme, I can get certified up to my level of knowledge and competency.”

Fishing for opportunities

Since doing Level 3 at MIT last year, Vosa has gone out on his own as a sole trader, working three days a week. This means he’s already self-employed – but getting his qualification would allow him to employ other people and grow his own business.

In the meantime, Vosa has been making the most of opportunities that have come along.

“I love fishing. I’m setting myself up as a commercial fisherman, so when I’m not working, that’s what I’ll be doing — I’ll be out on the water. It’s a side business.”

Well known in the Tuvaluan community for his legendary flounder hauls, Vosa had been giving a lot of his catch away. But as part of his refrigeration work, he found himself fixing chillers for a number of seafood businesses. He spied an opportunity to start supplying them.

“If I’m catching these flounder, why not sell them to my refrigeration clients who own fish shops? So, I rang the authorities to find out what I need to do, and now I’m getting myself set up to do it properly.”

Rising to the challenge

Vosa’s path into the trades hasn’t been a traditional one, and he says it wasn’t something he would have chosen when he started out.

“I didn’t like this work in the beginning, but I did it because I didn’t really have any other options. But now I love it. All of a sudden I had the opportunity in front of me. I thought, ‘Hold on a minute: I’ve never done this before’. But I did it for my family because if I don’t work, then I can’t feed my kids,” he says.

“Now I enjoy the challenge and problem-solving in this trade. I don’t know everything yet, but I learn every day as I go along. I feel like I’m in a classroom. I’m always learning how to do things better.

Being willing to give it a go and try new things has paid off, he says.

“I think that’s the challenge: testing yourself and putting yourself in new things. And then it turned into a career with big potential for me to make a living out of it.

“Once qualified, I’ll probably build up my business and employ a few more qualified air con and refrigeration tradies. My own business – that’s where I’m heading.”

So what does it mean to have a great attitude, and how do you know if you have one? The bad news is, no one can do it for you – a good attitude comes from within. But the good news is, it’s simpler than you might think.

Apprentice putting his family first

No-one achieves major goals on their own – our success also depends on support from those around us. That’s why refrigeration and air conditioning apprentice Avishkar Kissun is happy to be using his skills to help his hard-working parents pay the bills, and plans to celebrate getting established in his trade by taking his family on holiday.
For Avishkar Kissun, learning a trade is about giving back to his family. 

The 21-year-old was born in Batinikama, Labasa, on the island of Vanua Levu, Fiji. But his parents, who are both teachers, wanted him and his sister to have more opportunities. So in 2016, they made the difficult choice to leave Fiji and come to New Zealand.

“My parents wanted a great future for me and my sister. They needed a better future for us, so they decided to move to a new country.” 

Once in New Zealand, Avishkar chose to learn a trade because it allows him to help support his family while he trains, and opens up the possibility of owning his own business one day.

“My parents have struggled a lot in coming to New Zealand and it wasn’t an easy way to come here. So I have to care for my family.”

Avishkar learning on the job in Ponsonby, not far from Airtech’s headquarters on Williamson Ave.
House warming

Avishkar now lives in Papatoetoe with his parents, his sister and his granny.

“It was a big change for us, because we still have our house and close families in Fiji. It was really a very hard decision to leave behind our house and people with whom we’ve spent our time,” he says.

“My dad has struggled a lot. Coming from Fiji and getting a job was hard in New Zealand. When we came, my mum was the main applicant and she came on a student visa. She completed her Bachelors of Digital Technologies at MIT as an international student. My dad worked as a cleaning supervisor at the airport. After about two years, he managed to get his teacher registration and started teaching, through which we got residence.”

Avishkar’s parents are both now working as teachers, and his sister is studying biomedical science at Auckland University.

Together, the family managed to save enough to buy their own house in Auckland. 

“We have just bought our own house last year, due to our hard work and savings. I am lucky to be working because I am helping my parents pay the mortgage.”

Avishkar wants to use his trade to give back to his parents.

“This house is not my parents’ dream house. I have a plan in my mind: I’m thinking of buying them a house that they like – a dream house for them.” 

“I’m also thinking of taking my family on a big vacation once I’m established in my trade and my life is sorted out.”

Conditioned for success

Avishkar knew he wanted to study refrigeration and air conditioning after he lent a helping hand to his neighbour, who was a refrigeration engineer.

“A few days I went with him to help him, and I really enjoyed it and wanted to learn more. I didn’t have any knowledge of it — I was just a helping hand, you know. I wanted to learn more, so I just went to MIT and found the pre-trades course in air con and refrigeration.” 

In 2018, after finishing high school, Avishkar did a Certificate in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (Level 3) at Manukau Institute of Technology, with help from an MPTT scholarship. He excelled in his studies and was given the MIT MPTT Top Trainee Award for General Engineering. 

“MPTT paid for my fees, plus they gave me support to buy tools, which was very good and very helpful for me. Those are the tools I’m using now. And Hami and Naomi from MPTT supported me with preparing my CV and getting me ready for a career.”  

Tools aren’t cheap, and Avishkar’s grateful for the help from MPTT with putting his kit together.

In January 2020, Avishkar started his apprenticeship (through Competenz) at Airtech, which sees him working all over Auckland.

“The thing I enjoy most is going to new places in Auckland, and getting to work on new types of air con.”

“My job mostly focuses on the air conditioning. There are selected senior staff who do the refrigeration and I work with them. I have just started, but I am doing my best to learn refrigeration from them.” 

Air of confidence

Avishkar’s boss John Yorston, General Manager at Airtech, says the company is constantly “bombarded” with CVs from people looking for work, but Avishkar shone through because of his maturity.

“There’s a formality about him in terms of how he works and in his manner. He’s presentable and tidy. He has a maturity that’s a major benefit for him in what he’s doing and where he’s going, and that rolls into his acceptance by the team. 

“Give him a few years and he’ll be able to liaise with clients and pretty much do everything we could want — that’s for sure.”

One challenge for Avishkar has been getting comfortable with heights.

“It was very challenging for me when I started, you know. Going up high, climbing ladders and everything, is not easy when you’re not used to it. But slowly I am learning and seeing where people put their hands, what’s the correct position. Now it’s all normal for me and I’m confident in everything, but this was one of the challenging parts.”

In the future, Avishkar has his sights set on owning his own business, and he hopes to be able to employ some of his relatives who also live in Auckland.

Employer Spotlight: Airtech
Based in Grey Lynn, Airtech provides air conditioning and refrigeration services all over Auckland. They do everything from installing heat pumps in homes to fixing air conditioning systems at school, businesses, and commercial factories. They also service, repair and maintain commercial air conditioning and refrigeration equipment at places like restaurants and fast food outlets. 

General Manager John Yorston says the company has 15 employees, including two apprentices. As someone who receives a lot of applications, John has some good advice for anyone trying to land a job in the industry: 

Send in a well-written CV, and follow up with a phone call to make sure the employer’s received it and knows you’re interested

If you’re offered an interview, show up on time and dress smartly. The employer wants to see you looking professional, especially if it’s a role where you’ll be going into people’s homes.

Be prepared for your interview: learn about the company and the industry beforehand, bring any required paperwork, and be ready to talk about what your goals are for the future.

Crossing the finish line:
Get qualified on time

Finishing your apprenticeship means you can stop studying and start enjoying being a qualified tradie – including earning more money and having more job opportunities.

But getting qualified is more of a marathon than a sprint. From your pre-trades course to the end of your apprenticeship you’ll be training for several years, so it’s important to stay motivated along the way.

The exact time it takes depends on your trade, and whether you already have some of the skills you need (like if you’ve worked as a hammerhand). But no matter what your situation, the sooner you get certified, the sooner you can enjoy the benefits. Plus, if you wait too long without progressing, you might need to pay another apprenticeship fee.

Remember, you’re never alone in your training journey – there’s heaps of support to help you get your qualification. So read on for how to ensure you complete your apprenticeship in good time, and what to do when problems come up.

Why get qualified?

It takes work to get your qualification, so it’s important to remember why you’re doing it.

Jodi Franklin from MITO says there are a lot of benefits to getting qualified besides not having to study anymore.

“A lot of things happen when you get qualified. It’s not just a certificate; generally you’re rewarded in the workplace with a pay increase. And the world’s your oyster in terms of being able to take your qualification all over the world. If you want to go and live somewhere else for a change of scenery, you can take your qualification with you.”

On the other hand, if you don’t get qualified, you’ll limit your opportunities and how much you can earn, says Jodi.

“It doesn’t matter how close you get to completing your qualification. Even if you finish 99%, it’s not recognised until you complete it.”

So if you want more money and more mana on the job, and the freedom to take your skills overseas or start your own business, get your certification sorted as soon as you can.

Take away: You need to get qualified to get the benefits from your training, like more money and more job opportunities.
Good timing

When you sign on for an apprenticeship, your training provider (called an Industry Training Organisation, or ITO) will let you know how long it’ll ideally take you to complete your qualification. Depending on your trade, this is usually between 2 years and 4 ½ years of being an apprentice.

But it’s important to know that apprenticeships aren’t just about the hours you spend on site. Instead, you need to show the skills you’ve developed, says Doug Leef from BCITO.

“It’s all about competency. We all learn differently and, as such, progression from person to person differs. A lot of this comes down to the relationships forged on the job site and the quality of training and supervision given to trainees.”

Your employer is responsible for making sure you get the practical training you need during your apprenticeship, says Doug.

“That onus falls on the employer. It’s their responsibility to get trainees qualified. When they sign the apprentice up, we make the employer aware of the scope of work required.”

Take away: Apprentices need to show they have the right practical skills. Your boss is responsible for making sure you learn all the skills you need on the job, but you can help move things along quickly. Have a chat to your boss or ITO training advisor about the skills you need to learn, and make a plan for what you want to get signed off at your next meeting with your training advisor.

Getting qualified is more of a marathon than a sprint.

In theory

But it’s not enough to just show up to work and do what your employer says. As an apprentice, you need to understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. That’s where theory or book work comes in.

“It can be a bit daunting to have all this theory to learn,” says Doug. “But you’ve got to understand the underpinning theory and the reasons behind why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s not just throwing houses up; it’s about compliance, accountability and administration.”

The biggest challenge for most apprentices is finding time for their theory work on top of working full-time. Depending on your trade and schedule, you might do your theory work during a block course (where you go into a classroom with other trainees on certain days), a night class after working hours, or at home in your spare time.

“It’s about managing your hours,” says Aimee Hutcheson from Skills. “Most apprentices are flat tack as soon as they enter the industry, so they need to work with their employer to fit in time for their theory work.”

To make sure your theory work doesn’t build up and get overwhelming, make time to work on it regularly, says Jodi.

“The most successful apprentices are the ones who get into a routine. It might help to go along to a night class. Otherwise, you need to find that one night where you’re not playing rugby or busy with other commitments. Even just a couple of hours a week makes a big difference. Doing a little bit and often is the key to success.”

Take away: Make time every week to do a bit of your theory work, so you don’t fall behind. When you regularly do work towards your qualification, you know you’re building your skills and getting closer to being a skilled tradie. And remember, you don’t have to do it alone – there’s heaps of support available, so if you need help or have a question, talk to your boss or training advisor.
Needing help – it’s normal

Many trainees feel whakamā (shy or embarrassed) when asking for help. But the truth is, everyone needs help at some point in their training.

Remember, it’s normal to need to ask questions sometimes, and no-one expects you to know everything.

“We’re all embarrassed to ask for help from time to time,” says Doug. “But you need to put your hand up early. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.”

One reason you might need support is if you don’t understand something your tutor says in class. It’s really important to speak up, because no question is a dumb question. Chances are, other students are wondering about the same thing.

“We do have people who have had to resit exams because of the spiral effect of being too shy to ask questions in class,” says Aimee. “Then they’re resitting because they’ve never had the relationship with their tutor to not be whakamā to ask questions and ask for help.”

Having learning differences, like dyslexia, can also mean you need to ask for help. If you’re not sure if that applies to you, don’t worry. Your ITO will do a quick test to see if you’d benefit from help with literacy or numeracy – and there’s plenty of support available.

“You can talk to your employer or tutor if you need help, or your training advisor (from your ITO) is just a phone call away if you have any questions or concerns,” says Aimee.

“You’ve got to build that confidence to be able to ask questions and ask for help if you’re struggling. At the end of the day, we all want you to get through and get qualified, and to feel like you’re achieving as well – to understand what you’re learning, not just check a box.”

Take away: Everyone needs help sometimes, so make sure you speak up if you don’t understand something or are finding anything difficult.
Work worries

At some point during your apprenticeship, you might need to change jobs.

“Some trainees want to change employers because they’re travelling too far for work, or there’s not enough work, or maybe they’re not getting on with people on site,” says Doug. “It’s not the trainee or the employer’s fault – it’s just life.”

It’s okay to change jobs if you need to, but remember that an apprenticeship is an agreement between three parties: you, your employer and your apprenticeship provider. So when you leave your employer, you break the apprenticeship contract and you’ll need to sign another one with your next employer.

Before you change jobs, make sure your new boss is supportive of you doing an apprenticeship, says Jodi.

“You don’t have to stick it out in an employment situation that’s not right for you. And it’s the same if apprentices are laid off because their employer doesn’t have enough work for them or they want experience in other parts of the industry.

“You can change jobs and continue your apprenticeship, if you have the support of your new employer.”

If you’ve already had parts of your apprenticeship signed off and completed, don’t worry. The work you’ve already completed will stay in the system and you can transfer that to your new job.

But remember, changing jobs often takes time, which can delay your progress. For example, your new employer might want you to do a trial for a few months before giving you an apprenticeship. So change jobs if you need to, but don’t do it lightly.

Take away: It’s best to stay with your employer if you can. If you need to change jobs, make sure your new boss wants to give you an apprenticeship.
Need a break?

Sometimes life gets in the way of your learning. If you’re not able to work for a while, then you might be able to take a brief break from your apprenticeship, as long as your boss is on board.

“If you take a short break due to injury, then as long as your employer is aware of it and you’re still employed by the same company, it’s not an issue,” says Doug.

“For example, if you’ve hurt your knee playing rugby and you’re on ACC then we’ll say, ‘This person’s not working; they’re still in their apprenticeship, but their employer and ITO recognise they’re not fit for work’. So we can put your apprenticeship on hold until you can work again.”

But remember, you can’t put your apprenticeship on hold forever. You need to talk to your boss and ITO about why you need a break, and make a plan for when you’ll return.

“Apprenticeships can time out,” says Aimee. “Sometimes you can get an extension, but not by much. If you run out of time, you can be charged a fee because it’s almost like you’re signing up for that year of your apprenticeship again. You can’t just put it on hold indefinitely.”

Take away: If you need a break, talk to your employer and ITO and see if they can support your break from work. Just make sure you don’t leave it too long before you come back to your apprenticeship, because the longer you leave it, the more difficult it is to get back into it – plus you might be charged an extra fee.

Better for them, better for us

Apprenticeships better for everyone
Why hire a labourer when you can hire an apprentice? That’s the opinion of Auckland business owner Pat Coll, who’s trained about 180 electrical apprentices since starting Coll Electrical back in 1985.
A win-win

Pat says apprenticeships are a win-win, offering big benefits to both aspiring tradies and employers.

“Taking on apprentices is the right thing to do. It’s better for them, and it’s better for us,” he says.

“You’re giving workers an opportunity to up-skill, which means they can get paid more. A lot of guys who get an apprenticeship find out they’re quite good at it and they get better and better. You see guys grow, and it’s a neat feeling actually”.

“But it’s also good for us. Probably about 80% of our staff are people we’ve trained. A lot of them have gone overseas to travel, and they come back and become part of the management team. Most of our guys have been trained under us. It creates a bit of loyalty”.

Pat says more employers should consider taking on apprentices, rather than just hiring labourers.

“Why have a labourer when you can have an apprentice who’s just going to get better and better?

“To be honest, because of the size we are, it’s easy to train apprentices. It’s nothing major – no more than if we were taking on a labourer, no more than another staff member.”

Pat isn’t alone in finding apprenticeships valuable for business. Recent research by BCITO found for every $1 spent on training, a business will benefit by an average of $4.70 in increased profit for up to 10 years.

Wired for success

Among Coll Electrical’s 65 staff is 21-year-old Ioane McNiell-Temese, who began his apprenticeship in August this year.

Ioane was doing a Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory (Level 3) at Manukau Institute of Technology when the opportunity arose to join the workforce.

“Pat gave me a call after seeing a profile that Travis (an MPTT navigator) made of me. He asked me to come in just for a chat, and that chat turned out to be the interview. That’s how I got the job – easy as that.”

Ioane, who is half Samoan and being supported by MPTT Auckland, could see the advantage of landing an apprenticeship.

“I thought it was really important to get qualified. It’s something I’ll have behind me for the rest of my life. What’s three years of training compared to a life of just labouring?

“Maybe in the future I can go to Australia or even start my own business – it opens up more doors than just being a labourer or driving a digger.”

And Ioane is quick to encourage other trainees to take the same path, if they get the chance.

“Get your apprenticeship as soon as you can. If you think you’re ready, even a little bit ready, you’re ready. Go out and do it – it’s much better than sitting in a classroom everyday; you’re making money while you study.”

Hands-on skills

Having previously worked as a chef, Ioane’s also loving the chance to work in a more physical job. “I’m really enjoying the work. It’s a bit different to the old cooking job! It’s more physical than I thought. I’m doing civil work at the moment, so I’ve been putting up street poles for the past month or so. The spade has been my friend.”

As part of his apprenticeship, Ioane will complete his Level 3 and Level 4 while he works. He’s doing his apprenticeship through Skills, and will spend one day in a classroom every fortnight – while still being paid. Pat says he doesn’t mind losing his apprentices when they go off-site to study.

“Skills is very good. They come in and sign the apprentices up, they assign them to which tech they’re going, and we just keep an eye on it. I have apprentices who I don’t have any issues with right through their apprenticeship. They go to tech, we sign off their book, they do their job, we pay them. It’s great – couldn’t be better.”

Looking for an apprentice you can trust? Ask our navigators about finding the right employee who can add value to your business.

Welcome to the whānau

Group shot
Our most recent intake of MPTT trainees from Unitec, MIT and NZMA were welcomed to the whānau at our ‘Whanaungatanga* Days’ in August and September. These events, led by the Industry Training Organisation for each trade, were a good chance for trainees to meet each other and get to know the MPTT team as well.

Trainees from the second semester of 2017 learned about the support and opportunities MPTT can offer on their journey to becoming fully qualified tradespeople and proud members of the community.

The trainees were all presented with their scholarships and listened to speakers talk about work readiness, how to succeed in the industry and the growing demand for women in the trades.

A trainee from MIT said one highlight was the ‘site visit’, where trainees got to experience what it’s like on the job.

“Having a third-year apprentice train the new guy gives me confidence that I have someone who understands where I’ve been.”

* Whanaungtanga means relationship, kinship, a sense of belonging and of connection through shared experiences.

Competenz and MITO Whanaungatanga Day
Wednesday 16 August

Following a welcome and the awarding of scholarships, our trainees went their separate ways. Welding and Fabrication trainees visited Metal Skills in East Tamaki where they got a good insight into what their futures could look like. They were accompanied by MPTT navigators Tu Nu’uali’itia and Travis Fenton from Oceania Careers Academy as well as Reg Currin from Competenz.

Refrigeration and Aircon trainees visited White Refrigeration in Grey Lynn and were accompanied by Rangi Williams from Competenz. Rangi shared some of the trainees feedback:

‘I like the small sized company as it feels closer and the work seems exciting.’

‘This site visit helped me make up my mind that this is what I want to do.’

‘Steve said there are 2 apprenticeships available at the end of the year. This makes me want to work harder for a spot.’

The automotive trainees remained at MIT where they learned about their future as automotive apprentices. MITO’s Brian Messer and Mark Lawrence said they had a lot of great conversations with the trainees.

Welding and Fabrication trainees were pretty impressed with the equipment at Metal Skills.

Feels good.

A quick demonstration for Welding and Fabrication students. Great to see some wahine coming through.

Navigator, Tu listening with a couple of the Welding and Fabrication students

Collecting some swag – MPTT shirts for all trainees

Skills Whanaungatanga Day
Wednesday 30 August. Electrical, and Plumbing & Gasfitting

Trainees visited Skills at their offices in Highbrook, East Tamaki. They heard from industry speakers including Ruana Letalu from Ara – Auckland Airport Skills and Job Hub and Issac Liava’a, the National Pasifika manager from Skills.

Matt Matamu, an account manager at Skills also spoke to them about what to expect as an apprentice in the Electrical, Plumbing & Gasfitting trades. Tu and Travis, who are MPTT Navigators from OCA introduced themselves to the trainees and spoke about the role of the navigator. Students enjoyed the visit saying that it had a real cultural feel and that it was nice to see lots of brown faces. Thanks MPTT.

It was neat to meet other MPTT students from Electrical & Plumbing, those guys were a crack-up

Skills Organisation
Electrical and Plumbing Recipients at Skills Whanaungatanga Day

Skills gets the thumbs up from Joeli Davis

Travis Fenton
Travis Fenton getting to know the trainees

MPTT navigator, Travis Fenton awards Electrical Trainee Taumua Belford his scholarship

Scholarship recipient
Mikayla Pinn receives her scholarship

Scholarship recipient
MPTT Manu Whakahaera, Sam Sefuiva congratulates an MIT trainee on his scholarship

Group shot
MPTT electrical and plumbing trainees for 2017 Semester 2 intake

Women in trades
Girl power. There are 7 females in this intake, all of them studying electrical. Join the movement

Bright futures

Future in the trades
What’s in the bag. Finding out about their futures in the trades

Electrical trainees getting to know each other

Kai time
MIT trainees enjoy some kai

Wednesday 6 September. Building and Construction

The Great BCITO Bus Tour took Building and Construction trainees out to Hobsonville Point, where they visited a large building site managed by Complete Build. Trainees were accompanied by Hayden Toomer from BCITO as well as Murray Conroy, Shirley Murray and Ana Cullen, the navigators from the Solomon Group.

The bus tour stopped at Sustainable Coastlines where everyone enjoyed kai cooked up by BCITO’s Richard Mason. Comments from some of the students included;

If I had a car, I’d get a job on a site like that, it’s so massive, heaps of work

Gonna tap BCITO for an apprenticeship!

Thanks for the bag BCITO got ya number

Getting to know each other
Aleni Ropati and Michael Holani on the Great BCITO Bus Tour

Inspiring projects
Lots of interest from Tauira in the block plans and models of the development

Hayden Toomer BCITO adds his expert advice. Hunia Rangi from Complete Build to the right and navigator Shirley Murray to the left

The boys from Hunterville
Two 19 year olds from Hunterville spoke of their experience as apprentices

Richard Mason
Thanks to Richard for his tireless efforts for MPTT. Making bacon.

Kai Time
Nothing like some kai to put a smile on faces

Women in Trades
Women in trades are highly sought after. Heather and Sarah have great prospects ahead of them

Building and Construction Apprentices
Building and Construction trainees Issac Nye and Mobeen Saheb

Building and Construction Apprentices
Networking time. Joe Seumanutafa, Jay Wairepo and Mayor Rubena get to know each other

Group shot
BCITO Whanaungatanga Group. What a great day

Working it
Thomas Inamata looking pretty pleased to be awarded his scholarship

Scholarship recipients
MPTT Ambassador, Sam Sefuiva congratulates Joe Seumanutafa on receiving his scholarship

Scholarship Recipient
Result for MPTT trainee Whareumu Karaka

Navigator, Shirley Murray shared her comments on the day:
All the speakers were very informative and well worth listening to. Two of the speakers who presented to our tauira were both aged 19yrs and on apprenticeships. They both came from a small place called Hunterville. They went on to describe how it was for them coming to the big city of Auckland, they touched on things like being homesick, and how they overcame it, also fitness and the need for it to be successful on the job, how they were supported on site by the BCITO’s and their mentors.

One of the speakers also spoke about women in the trades. He said that women are a sort after commodity but unfortunately they don’t seem to be coming through fast enough. The percentage of women engaging in construction needs to be encouraged as it has been recognised in the trade that women make excellent Project Managers. This is an area where women excel because of their ability to multi task in the first instance. This work is more strategic than physical and they cope better with paper and planning in general. A very good career prospect for the right women in Hi Vis.

Wednesday 23 August. Consumer Services

Consumer Services Trainees and tutors visited the Toi-ohomai Institute of Technology in Rotorua where they stayed at the Marae overnight. They stopped in Hamilton on the way, where the Horticulture students explored the Botanical Gardens. Later, the hospitality students had the opportunity to cook and serve dinner for their group.

Caroline Harris from ServiceIQ accompanied the group along with one of their apprentices who shared their experiences with the trainees. Feedback from the trainees showed they came back inspired and were keen to do it all again:

Awesome, we need more whanaungatanga with other MPTT students

I made new friends, the tutors were great and participated in activities – we want another one of these events

Food was the best – can’t beat home-cooked kai and thanks for the lunch packs

Thank you MPTT you’re the best!

Talofa lava MPTT, can we organise the next whanaungatanga event?

Thanks to all those who gave up their time and resources to help make these days happen.

Marine engineer charts a new course with refrigeration

While working as a marine engineer, Lucas realised the lifestyle of living on a ship wasn’t for him. Find out how he launched a new career in the refrigeration and air conditioning trade and found an apprenticeship.

Lucas Rankin always knew he didn’t want to be stuck in an office. But after taking up marine engineering, he soon found himself stuck on a boat.

“I thought I wanted to do marine engineering because it had a lot of variety. But the lifestyle wasn’t for me. You live and work on the ship, so the weekend’s not really a weekend – you’re basically working every day.”

Cool career change

As part of his training in marine engineering, Lucas learned about refrigeration and air conditioning, so he decided to pursue it as a career.

“We did a bit of it on the ship, and I enjoyed it. The gear they have is quite similar to the industrial gear they have on shore.”

After starting his pre-trade Refrigeration and Air Conditioning course at Manukau Institute of Technology, Lucas heard about Maori and Pasifika Trades Training and learned he could have his fees covered by a scholarship.

“That was awesome – I was stoked to find out!”

The 23-year-old, who grew up in Samoa and moved to New Zealand in 2011, now has an apprenticeship at Excel Refrigeration and Air Con Ltd. He works all over Auckland doing the practical work he loves, but with the balance of getting to go home at the end of the day.

“You get to do a lot in this trade. You’ll do welding one day, electrical another day, you even do a bit of plumbing. A lot is involved, which is quite cool.”

Showing initiative

Paddy Durham, a technician at Excel and Chair of the Ammonia Safety Association New Zealand, has been mentoring Lucas for around four months.

He says Lucas is a great worker who shows a lot of initiative.

“He’s a really good apprentice, one of the best I’ve come across. He has a really strong work ethic.

“He’s very intuitive with the whole process. I’ll be thinking about a task and I’ll turn around to find Lucas already handing me the right tool for the job without prompting.

“And if I have to take a phone call and I’m tied up, Lucas will just start cleaning up or keeping himself busy. He’s bloody amazing.”

‘Give it a go’

Lucas says his advice to others considering the trades is to give it a go as soon as possible.

“If you like hands-on work and don’t want to be stuck in an office, try a trade. I knew from a young age I wasn’t going to be in an office for the rest of my life.

“I feel like I should have started learning a trade earlier – like as soon as I got to New Zealand I should have just jumped into refrigeration. But in saying that, I feel like my experience in industrial shipping was really helpful.”

Lucas says he’s loving his apprenticeship and hopes to keep working for Excel after he’s qualified.

He also hopes to inspire other young Pacific Islanders to take up the trade.

“I want people to know that it’s an awesome industry to work in. If you have an interest in engineering, then definitely go for it.”