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Second study choice opens possibilities for Darnell

November 5, 2018

Darnell Mahia-Rakei is a proud member of the Red Steel team.

A follow up phone call with an encouraging word from an EIT trades school coordinator has led to a full-time job and apprenticeship opportunity for Darnell Mahia-Rakei.

Darnell or Darz as he’s known to some, completed a year-long certificate in mechanical engineering, which included work experience at Napier structural steel construction firm Red Steel Limited.

There his hard work and enthusiasm saw him being offered a job as a labourer late last year, which Darnell says is “brilliant”.  “It’s really cool working with steel. I like the feeling of welding.” 

Of Cook Islands and Ngati Kahungunu descent, Darnell is now telling his family to get a trade as it “opens all sorts of possibilities”.

His education journey with EIT faltered initially. He had signed up for a pre-trades skills programme that included an introduction to carpentry, automotive and engineering but found the attraction of money working with his mother more appealing.

Andy Sinclair, a trades school programme coordinator, says he and trades school tutors could see more potential in the young man. Andy gave him a call, encouraging him to come back to EIT to give it another go.

“We could see that when he focused he was keen and onto it. He was happy to ask questions but just wasn’t committed to being here,” says Andy.

“When he came back to complete the pre-trades course a second time, he’d matured and had grown up a bit. Then he just grew and grew as he successfully tackled the full year certificate. We’re proud of him.”

Darnell says that second time around he found the study routine easier and having discovered welding, it wasn’t hard to focus on what he was enjoying. Now at Red Steel, he is considering whether he will take up an apprenticeship offer.

Al Varcoe, workshop manager and Darnell’s supervisor at Red Steel says “We look to EIT for job candidates because of their skills. And then we’re interested in people who are willing to work hard and be respectful. Darnell is all that.”

While he was studying at EIT, Darnell was photographed for trades school promotional material. His face beams out of posters that are on display around the region, including in the EIT Hastings regional centre. He gets a hard time from his family members who, having taken heed of his advice to check out study options, have seen him there!