"Studying at Tai Poutini Polytechnic opened so many doors for me. It helped me see what other people in the industry were creating in their studios and factories and allowed me to hone my skills even more.
I met a lot of self employed people at the programme so when I came back home to the North Island I set up my own small workshop. Now I've got my own business and work from home while at the same time continuing my education by studying for a Maori arts degree.
Studying at Greymouth was great. I love the Coast and it meant I could get out on the beach and fossick around for my own materials to carve. The best part of the Diploma in Jade and Hard Stone Carving for me was creating my own series of work. The challenge of doing that while having fantastic support from the programme tutors was just great."
Only three months after graduating from TPP’s drilling programme Allan was running his own drilling rig and helping with the Christchurch rebuild.
“It’s a rewarding job, quite intense but it is a great feeling to know you are helping Christchurch,” he says.
31-year-old Allan had spent 15 years working as a baker but decided he wanted a career change. He spent 14 weeks at TPP in Greymouth studying for a Certificate in Drilling and then did his 10 weeks work-based training for Christchurch excavation company TEXCO.
He is now working full time for the company doing geo-technical work and in October 2012 was judged best overall student driller by the NZ Drillers Federation and given a $2,000 scholarship.
“It tops off a really good six months where I’ve changed careers and retrained, this is the icing on the cake. The drilling programme at TPP was great and allowed me to get into a new industry which I find really rewarding.”
"I'm in my second year of study at TPP and am on the Leadership and Guiding programme. It has been an amazing programme so far. It was recommended to me because it offered more outdoor pursuits than similar programmes including rafting, rocking climbing, tramping and heaps of kayaking. In the second year you get to specialise in an area which you like and so I've chosen rock climbing, rafting and kayaking because I'm looking at becoming a raft guide.
I come from the North Island so I wanted to live somewhere different and the West Coast is perfect for that. I love living near the sea and there are so many rivers on the West Coast which means we get to go kayaking more which I love.
I have learnt heaps with the biggest thing being how to calculate and manage any risk we take. It's about gaining experience and we are certainly racking them up on this programme."
"After graduating I successfully set up my own business selling my jade stone tiki designs, both nationally and internationally. I just love my current self-employed role as I can manage a work life balance with my family here in Hokitika. Having my own workshop allows me to successfully produce and market my unique personal designs.
I've been able to transfer all of the practical skills I picked up while studying my Diploma in Jade and Hard Stone Carving at Tai Poutini Polytechnic to the work I am still doing now. Studying in the South Island was a great start to my career in a perfect learning environment. My fondest memory of my time at the polytechnic was by far the people and the programme's uniqueness which I believe you wouldn't find anywhere else. It is a structured programme that fosters creativity.
I plan to keep learning and creating designs of the highest quality and selling them around the world."
"If it weren't for the flexibility of TPP's business programme I would not be able to have enrolled because I work full time at Tourism West Coast. The tutors are so approachable and easy to work with and that has been a big part of my being able to continue studying while working full time.
I moved to the West Coast about 15 months ago from Christchurch and I am now about half way through the programme which I started late last year. The content complements the business environment I am working in and has helped me up-skill in areas I already had some knowledge on.
Marketing is a core function of this office so it is good for me to revise that knowledge and also learn more about the HR side of the business. I don't have any plans to move from what I am doing now but I am sure in the future this programme will only help me progress my working career."
Ben was chef for 10 years. “Now I’m employed as a Ski Patroller. I was able to gain the qualifications on the Ski Patrol Programme, as well as learn how to apply them.”
He said the best part was simply the whole programme, “Our classroom at Treble Cone was sweet!” And working in the snow is the direction for Ben’s future, “I want to Patrol - lots. Do some back to back winters then maybe explore guiding or similar roles.”
“I did the Certificate in Automative and Engineering Trades in 2011. I have always spent a lot of time with vehicles and race rally and speedway cars in my spare time.
The programme was a great way to get a job, through work experience I made great contacts and now I’m working in an industry I love. Plus all the stuff you learn you can put into practice on your own cars.
The facilities are really good, with all the gear you need and plenty of room to work. It is a real buzz getting to use all the gear. I would recommend doing the programme as it gets you through the first years paperwork and gives you a head start with your apprenticeship.”
"I've always wanted to be a builder since I was young. I left school at fifth form and the TPP programme was recommended to me by one of the teachers. Now I've done it I would definitely recommend it to anyone else wanting a career in building. The programme was great because the classes were small and you get one on one training. You also often get three weeks of training at the polytechnic and then a week on the field getting first hand work experience with building companies. That's how I got the job I'm in now with John Griffin Builder. I doubt I would have got the job if I didn't have that behind me.
What I really liked about the programme was the practical element. Each year students get to build a house on site and in our year we actually got to build the student accommodation for TPP across the road, and that's a permanent building."
“Every time I drive past Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s two storey accommodation block I feel a sense of accomplishment because as a student I helped build it. It sure gave us a good understanding of what building was all about.
Most of my family are builders so I knew there was a lot of theory involved in an apprenticeship. It was a real plus to be able to complete the majority while studying at TPP.
I knocked over the bulk of the bookwork with the help of the tutors which was great, now it’s just a matter of putting in the hours. I have just under two years to go to finish my apprenticeship.”
“I was already working as an outdoor guide teaching rock climbing and canyoning during summer and was looking for something to do in winter that had similar skills.
I just love working in the mountains, your education in the snow never ends. It is quite hard to get a job as a ski patroller so doing the Ski Patrol programme in Wanaka gives you a foot in the door.
The programme covered all the skills you need to be a ski patroller and it focused on getting you a job, making you as employable as possible. I loved the avalanche work we did, you learn a lot and it is just fascinating and humbling when you witness nature in winter.
After graduating I got work at Cadrona as a ski patroller and the next season I began working at Trebble Cone – my dream job.
From the outside ski patrolling probably looks more of a male world but the job and your passion for it comes first, the fact I am a women just isn’t an issue. I would really recommend it.”
“I did an Outward Bound course and it made me realise I wanted a job where I did stuff in the outdoors every day. I was told Tai Poutini Polytechnic was the place to study if you wanted to get into the industry.
I was a manager at a McDonald’s in Auckland so it was a big call going to the West Coast, a massive lifestyle change. The Coast was an amazing place to study and as a born and bred Aucklander it changed my perspective of the whole country. I didn’t really want to leave.
The programme was everything I hoped for and more, I did stuff I never thought I would like white water kayaking. The quality of instruction was excellent, the tutors were all experts in their fields and they pushed you when you needed pushing.
I’m now back in Auckland working for a company doing corporate team building and have applied to work at Outward Bound. When we graduated from TPP all of the students had jobs lined up which was great.”
"When I took the hospitality management certificate at Tai Poutini Polytechnic I got a job placement at a restaurant in Akaroa and ended up getting full time work here as a duty manager. I love socialising with people and in the long run I want to have my own coffee business. At the moment though I just want to get as much experience as I can in what I'm doing.
The programme was great because they take you through the business side of hospitality so you get to learn about profit margins and what you need to do to run your own business. I chose the Tai Poutini Polytechnic programme because it was a smaller campus so we got more one on one teaching. I've heard at some of the bigger polytechnics you just don't get that with the tutors. The qualification is also a real good thing to have on your C.V. for hospitality because it guarantees you can get a good job all over the world."
“I graduated from Ski School in 2011 and am now heading to the States and Canada to find work as a ski patroller there.
The programme was really good and gives you very strong background knowledge. It is also a great way to get into the industry.
I did my work placement at Porter Heights and it was awesome to learn all this stuff, then go out into the workplace and have it all click. Now I’m heading overseas and through the tutors have lined up in interview with a Canadian Ski Resort. I would definitely recommend the programme to anyone who wants to get into the industry but you have to be motivated to get the most out of it.”
“When I left school I travelled and then became a Mum. I always wanted to study and friends persuaded me to enrol at TPP to study for the Certificate.
The certificate gave me a feel for study and the confidence to continue on with the Diploma. It is great to be able to use some of the skills I am learning to design websites while I study. I am learning so much and given computers are only about 60 years old and technology is changing so rapidly it is exciting to think about the changes ahead.
Ultimately I would like to run my own business on the Coast, but if I travel I know the qualification is recognised throughout the world.”
"I always wanted to be a hairdresser and TPP helped me get my foot in the door. While I was on the hairdressing programme I went into Pizazz for a trial and ended up getting the job! I am currently working towards my apprenticeship and hope to complete it within the next few years. I love it working at Pizazz. The girls are awesome to work with, they make me feel part of the team and they teach me heaps. I find I am applying things I learnt at TPP such as shampooing, blow waving and straightening techniques and well as customer service skills in my job daily. Lynette the tutor is awesome, if you are thinking about enrolling in this programme I say go for it as you will have a blast!"
“I came over from South West Victoria in Australia to complete Tai Poutini’s ski patrolling programme. After doing research I discovered it is the only intensive 8 month accredited programme offering all facets of ski patrolling in the world.”
“I graduated in 2005, then went on to do ski patrolling around North and South America. I am now a senior patroller at Lake Louise ski resort in Canada where I am responsible for training and developing younger trainees. Next on my agenda is to explore options back in South America or Japan.”
“The skills I learnt during my time in Wanaka studying the diploma were dynamic and I was able to hit the ground running. New Zealand is one of the most beautiful parts of the world and I loved studying there and would do it again in a heartbeat.”
"I chose to study the New Zealand Diploma in Business to extend and upskill my knowledge and apply it to my role as office administrator at Grey Main School. The skills and experience I have learnt at Tai Poutini Polytechnic have most definitely been transferable to my workplace.
Living, studying and working in Greymouth is great. I do night classes which fit in really well with work and the learning environment is really friendly. I am really enjoying the challenging papers and the interaction with fellow students.
The best thing about studying at Tai Poutini Polytechnic for me was the great tutors and meeting new people."
“I was working on a production line for Fonterra when I decided to do the driller assistant programme, I graduated in 2010 and haven’t had any trouble getting work since then.
My life is so different now, I am much more financially secure, I have made great friends in the industry, and have learnt new skills. Becoming a driller was one of the best choices I have ever made.
I’m now moving to Perth as the package they are offering is really appealing. I’d encourage people to do the TPP programme as a way to get into the industry, it is physically demanding but if you are up to the challenges it’s a great industry.”
“I had worked for a number of years as a ski instructor in New Zealand and Switzerland. When I was in Europe I would see the ski patrollers chopper in when people needed help and thought it looked like a great job.
So I came back and did the Ski Patrol programme in 2011. The programme was great and I loved my work experience at Cardrona. I love to help people and on the mountain people really trust and rely on you. I particularly enjoyed the first aid side of being a ski patroller.
Over the summer I am glacier guiding at Franz Josef and then I plan to work a ski season in New Zealand. I have job offers in Canada I can take up the following summer season, I’m looking forward to back to back winters.”
Completing a six-month programme at TPP has been a life changing experience for solo mum Farrah Sipa.
The 27 year old has previously struggled to get full time employment so decided to work towards her dream of joining the construction industry and enrolled at TPP’s Christchurch Digger School.
“Doing the Civil Plant programme has changed my life. It took hard work and determination to successfully get through the programme and still be there for my little girl but I am so happy I did it. I adore this industry,” she says.
Farrah now works full time for Delta Utilities Services. Within months of starting with the drainage company she had been nominated by her boss for a National Trainee of the Year award and appointed to the company’s Health and Safety Committee.
Farrah loves her work and plans to do further study in the future.
"The pre health science programme was my ticket into the Bachelor of Nursing I'm currently studying for in Invercargill. I wanted to take the Tai Poutini Polytechnic pre-health programme because I hadn't finished high school and couldn't get straight into a Bachelor of Nursing. The programme opened doors for my classmates as well, with some going on to study midwifery post graduation. Our tutor for pre-health science was amazing. Shar is the best tutor I've ever had and was so helpful. She gave us all the encouragement we needed and even though the science part of the programme was online she was always there to help us out. A lot of us students appreciated that.
Now that I'm in Invercargill I have also been able to get a job as a care worker at a rest home. I don't know if the pre health programme helped me get that but I definitely wouldn't have got the job if I wasn't already training to be a nurse."
"Straight after my patrol programme, I got a job at Lake Tahoe, California, and went overseas. Then I came back to New Zealand for a season at The Remarkables, and then off to do some patrolling in Canada. I'm having the time of my life at the moment – you forget about summer when you are having so much fun in the winter."
"For the first couple of months of the programme I was in Wanaka studying avalanche management and first aid training in the classroom. The second part is on-snow training when the mountain is open – we were skiing four days a week and using all those skills.”
“The work placement was a good opportunity to test out my skills, and see whether it suited me. It's almost like a four-week job interview because I was working with all the patrollers. If you get on well, and they see that you are capable, they'll offer you a job the next year if they've got an opening – which is what happened to me."
“You can walk straight into a job and know a lot more than the other guys who are new to the job overseas. The programme gives you a really good knowledge base of what patrolling is and how you are going to go about it, which helps your confidence.”
“I got a job before I even graduated. I am now working as a tour guide and deck hand for a business which takes tourists swimming with dolphins and sea-lions in South Australia’s Baird Bay.
Having studied eco-tourism really swung it for me. I beat Aussies and a few Kiwi’s to get the job.
The programme was really good, I learnt way more than I expected to, especially about plants and story telling. The Coast is probably the best place to study as you’re so close to the mountains, bush and sea.”
"I wouldn't have got the job I have now at Coast Wide Honda if it weren't for taking the programme at Tai Poutini Polytechnic. I took the programme straight from school and nearing the end of the programme Honda rang up to see if anyone coming out of the programme wanted an apprenticeship. They recommended me and I went for an interview and that was how I got the job.
The tutors at TPP were really helpful and really good at explaining the programme material as well as giving us a hand if we needed it. Having the workshop to work in was really great because it we were able to get the practical experience we needed. With the programme being in Greymouth I didn't have to leave the Coast and get a job somewhere else which was great. I would definitely recommend anyone thinking of getting an apprenticeship to do the programme."
"I started out doing volunteer work at a camp which took me overseas. When I came home to Taranaki I decided to get a qualification in something which I love.
I had such a good time at Tai Poutini Polytechnic. The tutors are awesome and I made heaps of friends and got to see so much of the South Island.
The rafting and rope skills that I learnt during the programme set me up really well for my current job at the Peel Forest outdoor pursuit park, which I was lucky enough to get work placement for while still studying.
My plan for the future is to stay where I am. I just love what I do and I would do it all again at Tai Poutini Polytechnic."
“When I left school one of the jobs I did was cutting firewood. It was really hard work, so I knew I wanted to work outdoors but not be so hard on my body.
My boss took me to careers day at TPP as he wanted to see me do well. It took a while for me to work out what to do but I thought about it and signed up to the Civil Construction, Quarrying and Mining programme.
I loved driving the diggers, a few of the guys were jealous I was better at driving diggers than they were. The tutors were very understanding and helpful, when you asked them a question they never made you feel stupid.
I now work at a goldmine loading and off-loading screens, driving a 27 tonne digger. I am only 5’2” so the digger tracks come up to my chest and I have to climb up into it.
One day I would like to get my own piece of land and run my own gold claim.”
Johnny Percy enjoyed the first year of Jade and Hard Stone Carving so much he decided to stay for a second year to study for a diploma.
“The first year you are learning the basic skills which was good but I really do love doing my own carvings. In the second year it is much more about personal development, you are given a loose brief which you can interpret in your own way and there’s a lot of room for creativity,” he says.
Johnny is from Christchurch and moved to Greymouth to study. “It is very different from Canterbury, I love the native bush and it feels like the last wild frontier, it is very inspiring.”
Last year his work was exhibited at Greymouth’s Left Bank Art Gallery, he was particularly proud of a depiction of a Tui made from Australian black jade. After he graduates he plans to carve full-time, selling his work via the internet, in galleries and tourist shops.
“I grew up in the ski industry as my father ran the Ohau Ski resort. I studied for the Certificate in Ski Patrol when I left school.
So far it is the best choice I have made in my life. It’s not like you are writing essays or sitting in a lecture theatre all day, you are outside doing something you really enjoy. The tutors know their stuff and are really encouraging, they want you to be the best that you can be.
After graduating I applied for a job in Canada and within a week had my visa and was on my way to Lake Louise. I loved the experience of working at a big ski resort and was named rookie of the year. I think my attitude and the training I got in New Zealand helped in Canada, I was definitely not afraid to give anything a go.
I love the job but I have had a bit of an injury so I am now going to study nursing. The Ski Patrol programme gave me a good grounding in medicine.”
As a trainee scaffolder Kapeli thought he knew a bit about the job but as soon as he started training for his National Certificate in Scaffolding at TPP he realised he had a lot to learn.
“The programme was really good, I had worked on a few jobs before and thought I knew a lot but then I started studying and realised the tutors have worldwide experience and can teach you a lot,” he says.
The 25-year-old started scaffolding a year ago after seeing an advert on Trade Me. His employer, Camelspace, offered to pay for his training so he has been doing week long block courses while continuing to work.
“It’s exciting, once I have my ticket I have the opportunity to build, design and sign off my own scaffolds, I will be able to proudly say ‘I built it myself’.”
Kapeli is about to graduate with his elementary qualification and plans to continue studying for his advanced certificate.
"I enrolled in the hydroponics programme to try something different to what I am doing now as a personal assistant for a local consultancy company. I have always been keen to know how to grow produce and thanks to Tai Poutini Polytechnic I have fresh vegetables successfully growing at home.
Over the ten night programme we learnt something different every day which I thoroughly enjoyed. On the last day we set up our hydroponics units and took them home. I loved meeting new people at the polytechnic and sharing stories about their growing successes.
My long term plan is to do something on a larger scale. Perhaps supply to restaurants or set up a bigger unit on a farm here on the West Coast that I spend time at."
“The two years I spent in Greymouth studying were the best two years of my life, it was awesome.
The location was perfect, it is not until you go overseas that you realise how amazing the West Coast is. I got really into white water kayaking, and loved rafting, ice climbing and rock climbing. The tutors are great, and incredibly skilled, they are really committed to the students and become like your family.
Since I graduated I have worked in the USA, I was able to get a sponsored visa because the TPP programme has such a good reputation. I am back in New Zealand now working in Rotorua guiding tourist and school groups, it hardly feels like a job.”
“I did the nanny programme when I left school. Since I graudated in 2008 I have worked for Barnardoes in New Zealand and have also been a nanny in Australia.
In Victoria I worked for a family looking after a two year old boy and four year old girl. It was a full on job as I was a live-in nanny but on the up-side I was provided with my own car which I could use on my time off and my meals and living costs were all included.
I also got to go to Queensland with the family on a two week holiday, but remember the holiday is theirs not yours, you do have to work hard but a lot of the time was spent on the gorgeous beaches which made it pretty relaxing at times.”
I would highly recommend the nanny programme at TPP as it is filled with fun and adventure. You met some amazing people and the tutors are great.”
“My partner and I came to Greymouth to do the Certificate in Jade and Hard Stone Carving a few years ago before we had kids.
I had been carving soft stone and making jewellery for some time and doing the Certificate meant I could get access to different stones and tools and learn how to work with them.
When my kids got a little older I decided to do the Diploma. It is good that TPP is so flexible as I can only manage about 18 hours a week so I am doing it part time over two years. It’s up to the individual but the timing really works for me.
It is great studying with like-minded people and having a work-space and the opportunity to be creative. It is a juggle with the kids but it is the fun artistic bit of my life.”
As a scaffolder Leon Murray learnt a lot of his trade on the job but he says the block courses he undertook through Tai Poutini Polytechnic “fed his brain” and helped him in his profession.
The 32 year old began his career 12 years ago as a scaffolding labourer. Over the years he studied at TPP, completing block courses to obtain his elementary and suspended scaffolding tickets. Five years ago he became Operations Supervisor and later Sales Manager for scaffolding company Upright Access.
“I’d recommend TPP to anyone starting in the industry, you learn the paperwork side of scaffolding, how to do calculations and other stuff you don’t learn on the tools,” he says.
Mr Murray says it is good to study in block courses while you work. “You take what you learn straight into practice, it’s still fresh in your mind.”
As a sales manager he is no longer “hands on” in the profession but he is continuing to enhance his skills by undertaking a Business Management Course through TPP. “The more knowledge the better, it’s another way of feeding my brain”, he says.
“Since graduating in 2006 I have been ski patrolling and travelling in Colorado and Coronet Peak in Queenstown. Tai Poutini Polytechnic gave me a booster start into skills and knowledge that I use every day up the mountain, including pre-hospital care and avalanche awareness.”
“As part of the programme I did work placement for a month at Coronet Peak and landed a job there once I had finished. The slopes are the best offices in the world and my plan is to stay where I am for now, and maybe even travel to India to do some skiing next summer.”
“The best part about studying at Tai Poutini is the tutors. Both Russell and Ed are so on to it. They have done everything so they are great to learn off and they teach you what to expect in the industry. I can’t put a price on the skills that I came out with.”
Matthew Day wasn’t sure what he wanted to do when he left school but when a teacher suggested he tried building as part of the Gateway Programme he thought he would give it a go.
As part of his schooling the then 15-year-old started working one day a week on building sites and enjoyed it so much he applied to study for a Certificate in Carpentry at TPP.
“I learnt a lot on the programme, we did lots of projects and heaps of hands on work. You learnt stuff in the classroom and then got to go out and do it, like building a house as part of our studies,” he says.
Matthew says because there were only 12 people on the programme there was plenty of opportunity to get one-on-one help from the tutors.
After graduating he has taken on an apprenticeship with Camden Builders and is presently helping refurbish 28 bathrooms at the Scenic Circle Hotel in Franz Josef Glacier. He reckons one of the best things about his job is being able to drive past something and say “I built that”.
Computers have fascinated Matthew Roberts since he was a young boy, so deciding on a career in the ICT industry when he left school was a no-brainer for the Greymouth local.
“I remember being first introduced to modern computers when I went to primary school, I was just fascinated with them. There is always something new to learn in computing and so many different directions to go in,” he says.
Last year the 19 year-old decided on studying for a Certificate in Information and Communications.
Technology at TPP (level four) and after completing that he went on to study for a Diploma in ICT (level six). “ICT gives you a taste of everything. I particularly enjoyed learning to build and plan websites. It is a really creative process. I sit down and decide how I want the website to look and work, then challenge myself to get it done technically. It’s a lot of work but it pays off in the end as you have something tangible that you can show people.”
Matt is in two minds about his next move. This year he plans to graduate from the diploma programme but then he is not sure whether he will look for a job or go on to do a degree in ICT. Whatever he decides on he is excited about the future.
Mike says the two years he spent studying outdoor recreation in Greymouth were the best two years of his life.
The 20-year-old Southlander says he decided on TPP as it had a good reputation and he thinks the West Coast is the best place to study outdoor education in the country.
“The coast offers amazing access to the best of New Zealand, it’s a short drive to awesome crags, rivers and mountains. Also, the tutors are great and the activities first rate,” he says.
TPP has a reciprocal agreement with an outdoor education training facility in Chile and Mike was chosen to go to Chile and the King George Islands for three weeks as part of the Outdoor Education programme. He says was an incredible experience.
After graduating Mike spent nine months working for DOC on Stewart Island which he loved and he is now about to head to California to be a kayak guide.
Whenever young girls ask Natasha Murphy the best way to get into the hairdressing industry she recommends they do a hairdressing programme.
Thirteen years ago the then 18 year old left school and studied hairdressing at Tai Poutini Polytechnic. After finishing the programme she began her hairdressing apprenticeship and within six years the ambitious young woman had opened her own salon.
“It was great to be able to study in Greymouth and by doing the programme I was able to take six months off my apprenticeship. I loved the programme and it was a great way of working out whether I really did want to get into the industry,” she says.
Natasha opened RT Hair Design in 2005 with her mother.
“Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to own my own salon. It was hard work starting from scratch, but I already had a good client base and I enjoyed the even challenge of owning my own business,” she says.
After having children Natasha downsized her business and now works from home. She loves that she can combine family and a career.
“I graduated from Steam School in September and would describe the experience as five of the best weeks of my life.
I used to watch steam trains as a child and chased them as a young adult but I never had the opportunity to do anything about it. Now I am 65, have no mortgage, the family has gone and the timing was perfect. It was a fantastic experience doing the programme, one of my absolute highlights.
It is incredible being in control of a living, breathing piece of machinery. I would encourage anyone to do the programme, it is interesting, extremely well structured and the tutors approach was outstanding. I learnt so much.”
“I was made redundant and had always been interested in mining so I looked at Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s Civil, Quarrying and Mining programme which was aimed at those wanting to enter the industry. I moved the family to Greymouth and did the course, it was a great way for me to get into the industry. The tutors were really experienced and I learnt a lot from them about the basics of mining.
Now I am working full time in the mining industry and earning more money that I ever have. At the beginning of the year I was unemployed, and then a student, now we are looking at going from renting a house to buying one. That is a big change – it’s great.
I am doing further study now and the qualifications I got at TPP can be cross credited towards ongoing training. I have no regrets about doing the course and would recommend it to anyone.”
“When I was in France I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life but when I got to New Zealand and heard about the Ski Patrol programme I knew it was exactly what I had been thinking about.”
“It is awesome to be studying in English. Everyday I discover a new word and learn about Kiwis. The Ski Patrol programme is fantastic, we learn about the mountain, skiing, weather and first-aid, it is a different way of learning from France, there are a lot more practical experiences.”
“I have started my first paper towards a degree in business and management through the Open Polytechnic. TPP is facilitating it and is assisting us by running one class a week in Greymouth to help keep us on track.
Through TPP I have also done my NZIM Diploma in Management and I am nearly finished the New Zealand Diploma in Business. I hope I can finish the degree with help from TPP, it is great to still be able to interact with other students and the tutor while you study through distance learning.
I have been working at Mountain Jade in Hokitika while studying and just got promoted to supervisor and tour liaison. It is quite a challenge and I was really happy to get the job. I think I got it because of my knowledge of the business, my hard work and also the fact I am studying business.
I have always been interested in business and marketing and I knew it was important to have qualifications in that area to progress my career. I have joked with my bosses that I want to manage the place one day.”
“I left school when I was 15 years old and had to go to work, then I started having children when I was 20. When they all grew up and left home I felt empty because I had no-one to care for.
While the kids were growing up I’d been a long-term career and nurse aid, but I needed to change my life. A really good friend suggested I did the Civil Construction, Quarrying and Mining programme at Tai Poutini Polytechnic.
Being in my late 40’s it was hard initially moving away from family, but the tutors were really supportive and comforting. I learnt about all aspects of the civil construction industry, and about environmental issues, and loved every minute of it.
I now work for SJ Allen Ltd in Christchurch as a water-cart driver. My job is to the feed the water blaster truck, I love the people I work with and I love the trucks. I stepped up and had a go and it’s the best job I have ever had in my life”.
As a 15 year-old waitressing at Hokitika’s Café de Paris Rosie Greenslade-Yeats never dreamed she would become head chef at an up-and-coming London restaurant but that is exactly what the West Coaster has done.
Twelve years after graduating from TPP she has recently been appointed head chef at new London restaurant Aurelia. Along the way she has worked in kitchens at Taupo’s luxury Huka Lodge and internationally acclaimed London restaurant Roka.
“I began working part time at the Cafe de Paris in Hokitika while I was at school. Originally I was a waitress but the kitchen seemed more exciting and I got hooked on the industry,” she says.
So Rosie went to TPP and after graduating her tutor arranged for her to do a work placement at Huka Lodge and soon she was offered a full time job there.
“At Huka Lodge I met celebrity chef Nic Watt whom I’m still working with in London. I moved to London in 2004 to work with Nic at Roka and then left to work in France. I came back to open Roka Canary Wharf in 2009 as sous chef and then took the position of Head Chef at Aurelia in November.”
Rosie and the restaurant have recently been featured in a London magazine. She is sticking with London for now but hopes to open her own restaurant in New Zealand in time.
Doing the drilling programme at TPP is the best move I could have made.
I thought it would benefit my family if I got into something where I could earn decent money and this was a great opportunity. In the year since I graduated I have bought a house in the Waikato and a new car.
I was a mechanic for five and a half years, stuck in a work-shop. With drilling I am travelling all the time and working in the outdoors which I love.
For the first three months I worked in Auckland for Boart Longyear and now I work as a drillers off-sider in Australia, not far from Brisbane. I fly back and forth working two weeks on and two weeks off which means I get to spend more time with the family.
I love the job and I work with an awesome group of guys. Going to TPP definitely changed my life.”
Former delivery driver and labourer Steven Gread left Hamilton to study for a certificate in eco-tourism. The 34 year old says it was a spectacular learning environment.
“I did an outdoor certificate in Hamilton last year and really wanted to get into guiding and heard studying eco-tourism was a good way to do that. The West Coast is incredible, I met some great people and we went to amazingly beautiful places as part of the programme.
I have now got a job as a guide on the Heaphy Track which I’m really excited about. I’d really recommend the programme for people who love the outdoors and are interested in learning about the environment.”
"I have always wanted to work with children and I have always wanted to travel which is why I decided to take the Nanny programme. I was really nervous initially about work placement but the families were so good and the tutors were amazing and supported me right through it. The programme also taught us a lot about communication skills which I enjoyed and we even did mock interviews for getting jobs.
I'm currently working and looking after two little girls aged two and four. I absolutely love it. I wouldn't have got the job without the programme and it was pretty huge for my family to take me on after only a few emails and meeting the Dad once! Eventually I'd like to work on a cruise ship, then do my OE and then come back to New Zealand to complete my degree in early childhood education, where I can cross credit some of the Nanny programme."
"Attending the Digger School was best thing I have ever done. It was money well spent; I made it back real quick. I love working outdoors and the variety is just great. I am now on good money and would recommend the programme to anyone interested in a civil career.
I completed the Digger Schools Civil Plant programme in June 2007, and now I work full time for Concut Ltd in Canterbury. I travel around Christchurch with a truck and excavator working on small jobs and love it!"