“The minute I stepped into the Ignite Colleges campus I knew I was in the right place. I had an overwhelming feeling of wairua (spirit), a strong sense of belonging – and that was before I’d even signed up! I’d visited a lot of different schools but none of them felt right. When I walked into Ignite I felt instantly uplifted, like I’m really going to become somebody here.
“I grew up surrounded by people with disabilities. For me, that’s not a label. These people are my whanau, and I was always looking for ways I could help make them happy and feel good about themselves. These experiences helped me understand that everyone is different, and made me appreciate life a lot more. My mum always said I had a natural ability to reach out and connect with people, but until recently, I never thought about tapping into that, and turning that talent into a career.
“After six or seven years doing seasonal work in Southland I recently returned to Auckland and took time out to really try and pinpoint my passion. I was sick of just working for money – I wanted to find a career path that was fulfilling. I thought about all the people in my family that I’d made a positive impact on, and it gave me such a strong sense of accomplishment. When I listened to my heart, my path was quite clear. More than anything, I just want to make people happy.
“Ignite’s free Level 2 Health and Wellbeing course was the perfect place to start. The course has been amazing, and when it comes to my tutor, I’m actually lost for words! He brings his own life stories and experiences to the class, and really helps us flourish. He has encouraged me to step into leadership roles, enhancing my skills and giving me confidence. I’ve grown so much since enrolling here.
“I’m really looking forward to doing my practicum in a few weeks’ time and after I graduate I hope to find a job in a rest home to gain some experience. Next year I’ll be back at Ignite to complete my Level 3 and 4. These qualifications will help me achieve my long-term goal, which is to work as part of a mental health team. Mental health issues - such as depression, bipolar and schizophrenia - have had a big impact on my family. I’d love to try and combine my Maori ways and rongoā (traditional medicine) with the skills I’m learning at Ignite. I think that could be very powerful.”
NZ Certificate in Health and Wellbeing Level 2