Yesterday marked the beginning of an exciting new chapter for 73 of Auckland’s freshest tradies – and the first birthday of Wiri-based trades training school, Aspire2 Trades.
Aspiring forklift drivers, painters, welders and infrastructure workers packed out the Aspire2 Trades campus last night, celebrating their successful graduation from a range of Level 2, 3 and 4 trades programmes. Now poised to forge successful careers in the industry, graduates were treated to not only the recognition they deserved, but also plenty of inspiration.
Guest speaker John Clark shared his personal journey – a transformation from violence and time behind bars, to the success he currently enjoys as a respected foreman at Fulton Hogan. He encouraged graduates to keep learning and keep striving to be the best they could be.
“I am not proud of what I did in my past, but I had to learn to let that go in order to become the man I am now,” he said.
“You all have a choice. It doesn’t matter what you are, who you are, or how you were brought up, at the end of the day you are the ones here graduating tonight.”
John said the Solomon Group had been pivotal in his success, supporting him through his Infrastructure Trades studies so that he could achieve his qualifications and find a great job.
“Without those tickets you can’t get into the workforce. The Solomon Group was that stepping stone I needed.”
Last night was the first time the Solomon Group has been part of a graduation ceremony at Aspire2 Trades, and Brand and Content Manager Soteria Fetalaiga (Sote) said the occasion marked the start of a new partnership between the two education providers.
“Aspire2 Trades and the Solomon Group are joining forces to support the community into better trades pathways,” said Sote. “Solomon Group’s Level 2 and 3 Infrastructure Trades programmes are great lead-ins to the variety of trades training on offer at Aspire2 Trades. This partnership will empower our community and show them that there are alternative education pathways outside of mainstream education.”
Graduating students were clearly delighted at their achievements and were well supported by cheers and claps from tutors, classmates, whanau and friends. Eighteen year old Narea Anderson graduated with her Level 3 and 4 welding qualifications and already has a good job as a MIG welder for Merton Equipment.
“At first I was a bit worried about studying welding because it’s a very male dominated industry but the guys here are cool – everyone motivates each other and supports each other, and the tutors are awesome,” she said. Narea’s brother Creed was also graduating with his Level 3 welding qualification and has been snapped up by the same employer.
“I really enjoyed the course, love my job and feel really proud of what I have achieved,” he added.
And rightly so.
As welding tutor Elvis Moodley pointed out during his speech: “This place is a platform, a stepping stone into your future. While studying with us, you have learnt to persevere and not give up. Take that with you when you go out into the workforce and show the world what you are made of. Don’t look back. There are many more good things to come your way.”
Special awards went to the following students:
Career Preparation for Engineering Trades (Level 3)
Top Student – Insure Fatai
Best Attitude – Taumaia Kulu
Top Student – Vili Ngoue
Best Attitude – Paki Pera
Top Student – Viliami Fotofili
Best Attitude – Kyle Shaw
Certificate in Advanced Welding (Level 4)
Top Student – Stuart Money
Best Attitude – Narea Anderson
Career Preparation for Specialised Welding (Level 4)
Top Student – Sione Palu
Best Attitude – Kurapai Nganu
Top Student – Thomas Winter
Best Attitude – Romia
Top Student – Lameko
NZ Certificate in Construction Trades Skills (Level 3) (Painting)
Top Student – Rebecca Tavai
Best Attitude – Nenase Nau
Top Student – Kwonk-Keung (Charles) Ching
Best Attitude – Stacy Lightfoot
Career Preparation for Trades Support (Level 3) (Forklift)
Top Student – Joon Won
Best Attitude – Tommy Hohua
Top Student – Taylor Fleetwood
Best Attitude – Michelle Katipa
Infrastucture Trades (Level 2)
Materea Tilly Tuitupou