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Paid while learning for dream job

September 23, 2018


EIT Engineering student Korey Waho enjoying his new “classroom” at Universal Engineering.

An engineering programme at EIT has opened up a whole new career path for father-of-six Korey Waho, who was one of many people laid off at Juken NZ’s Matawhero Sawmill in January.

With the support of his wife, he decided to take a change in direction. Having had a lot of family members in the engineering field he had always wanted to create some of the things he had seen his father and uncles put together.

He checked out the options at EIT’s  Gisborne campus and was delighted to discover has was in time for the next intake for the NZ Certificate in Mechanical Engineering – Level 3.

Furthermore, he qualified for a Te Toka Scholarship (for people of Maori or Pacifica descent) which took some of the heat off the family budget, making going “back to school” fees-free.

At that stage he had been working in the forestry industry for 14 years, since leaving school, so the prospect of getting back into the classroom was fairly daunting.

But his tutors Shane Cameron and John Baynes were fantastic and a lot of the learning was hands-on.

As well as his tutors, his family and friends were also very supportive and he is looking set to gain his Level 3 NZ certificate this year.

But the icing on the cake was being offered an apprenticeship by Universal Engineering’s Graham Mackey and Phil Matthews, who offered him a contract after his first day’s work experience there.

He is there four days a week, with Mondays in the classroom, doing homework in the evenings alongside his older children.

He is loving life on the job.

“There is a great team here- I am learning and getting paid,” he said.

Universal Engineering does general, structural and precision engineering, as well as design and build which provides him with the broadest scope for training.

His ultimate dream is to get into engineering design.