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Waiariki Jobs Pathways Scholarships For Semester 2

More Waiariki Pathways To Jobs Scholarships For Semester Two

With the inaugural Pathways To Jobs Scholarships recipients in their first weeks of study, Waiariki Institute of Technology has announced it will call for more scholarship applications in Semester Two.

Waiariki CEO Dr Reynold Macpherson was pleased to award 37 Pathways scholarships this semester across a broad range of courses at all Waiariki campuses in Rotorua, Whakatane, Tokoroa and Taupo.

"The idea of having a scholarship aimed at people who face barriers to learning was a popular one," Dr Macpherson says.

"Applicants were asked to explain their barriers and a number of interesting factors emerged, such as age, sickness, lack of confidence, financial difficulties, family commitments and child care issues."

The Pathways To Jobs Scholarships were also intended to help alleviate the skill shortages currently facing the region.

"A Skills Gap Analysis carried out in the Waiariki catchment area last year predicted a severe shortage of skilled employees in the near future," Dr Macpherson says.

"The Institute has been approached to help with workforce development schemes. But trends show while employment is continuing to grow, employers are already finding it difficult to get workers with the right skills. We could see this projected into the future and hope the Pathway scholarships will go someway to alleviating the problem."

For 59-year-old Shirley Woods of Rotorua, the chance to study for free meant a whole new lease of life.

With sickness, the mortgage and her age factoring against her, Mrs Woods thought she had missed her chance to pick up tertiary study and therefore would never fulfil her dream of becoming a hairdresser.

She says the opportunity to apply for a scholarship aimed at people in her situation was a dream come true.

"The scholarships were designed for capable and willing people like myself, who couldn't commit to tertiary study because of any number of obstacles.

"I'd been sick for some time and lost a lot of self-confidence. After I had built myself up again, there were other barriers – mainly financial.

"My husband and I both felt I was too old to get a student loan as I'd have trouble paying it back and even though I did some hairdressing when I was younger, my skills were out of date and I have no qualifications."

Mrs Woods is now studying full time at Waiariki's Rotorua campus and hopes by the end of the year she will be up-to-date enough with modern hairdressing techniques to gain employment in the industry.

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