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MyStart programme re-ignites engineering dream for Neihana

MyStart programme re-ignites engineering dream for Neihana

Neihana Umuroa of Whangarei is now more assured about his career direction after last year discovering NorthTec’s MyStart programme.

Neihana said MyStart had succeeded where school had failed managing to hold his interest while giving him the confidence and direction he needed to ignite his pursuit of an engineering career after he dropped out of school at 15.

Neihana never felt comfortable at school as he felt like he was trapped. However, on MyStart he found the experience completely different. “It offers you more freedom and you are made to feel like an adult when on this programme. From day one it was mean. I was really into what I was learning,” Neihana said.

Growing up, Neihana had aspirations of becoming an engineer of some kind, pulling apart just about any motor and trying to put them back together again for small home projects. Dropping out of school made him feel that any hope of him achieving his goal had vanished. That was until he discovered NorthTec’s MyStart programme.

MyStart is a Government-led initiative which provides 16 to 17 year-olds that might have suited the school system opportunities to discover career pathways with free fees in their first year of study. The MyStart Programme at NorthTec is tailored to the specific education needs of the region.

Students can choose from a range of eight first-year introductory options before deciding whether to go and pursue a modern apprenticeship, enrol in a NorthTec national certificate or follow another tertiary study pathway.

Thanks to NorthTec’s MyStart Programme, Neihana is well on his way to realising his goal of becoming an engineer.

After completing the Introduction to Trades and Technology in 2011, Neihana is keener than ever on engineering and he is planning to move into a NorthTec Pre-Trade automotive engineering Certificate this year, prior to signing up for an apprenticeship in the industry.

During last year’s course Neihana and others were involved in designing and building their own motorised mini-bikes, twelve in all, that they got to test out at the Whangarei Kart Club supported by parents/guardians and other MyStart staff and students.

Working on the mini bikes gave Neihana and his classmates the ability to practice basic but essential engineering skills like welding or, bending steel tube and assembly work while developing all-round knowledge by completing a Vocational skills certificate as part of the programme.

“Building my bike was awesome fun and pretty much started my life. It opened the door to me being able to study engineering further.”

Starting on January 25, NorthTec will be holding the first of seven MyStart Roadshow events at different locations across Northland.

The roadshows aim to give potential students, parents/guardians, and whanau important information on the MyStart programme so people can size up if the programme is a good option for them as it has been for Neihana. These will include presentations by tutorial staff, an overview of the programme and campus tours.

For a full list of the MyStart Roadshow locations and dates visit


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