EIT has secured a new role model for students wanting to join the New Zealand services, with the appointment of Ngāti Porou-East Coast rugby team assistant coach Troy Para as tutor for the Services Pathway programme.
Coming from a policing background, Mr Para steps into the role of former police area commander Waata Shepherd who has been appointed EIT Tairāwhiti campus manager.
That means his former boss will again be his colleague.
Both men have strong East Coast affiliations. Mr Para is Ngāti Porou, from Ruatorea, where he was based as the Rugby Development Officer for the Ngāti Porou East Coast Rugby Union.
He joined the police in 1996 and was stationed in Masterton.
As a police officer, he initially worked on the streets, becoming a qualified police negotiator and later serving time as an iwi liaison officer attached to the Intelligence Section.
His final posting was as the sole charge Constable at Manutuke, covering a large rural area.
As well as playing representative rugby for Wairarapa Bush and Poverty Bay, Troy Para has developed extensive experience in coaching. Working as the Rugby Development Officer for Ngāti Porou East Coast was a dream job, he said.
“Rugby is my passion.”
But this will be his last year as coach. The time has come when he wants to be based in Gisborne, with his partner and children. He welcomes the challenge of his new role at EIT tutoring young people seeking careers within the services, such as the police, army and navy.
“I see this role as helping people to realise their dreams – it’s a powerful responsibility and it’s pretty exciting, having been in their position many years ago.”
Coming in midway through the semester he had to hit the ground running but says he has been lucky to initially have Waata Shepherd as his mentor.
The current Services Pathway programme is fully subscribed, and the next one, starting in July, is rapidly filling.
The programme prepares people wanting to take up careers with not only the police and armed services, but a variety of organisations including security work and corrections.
As well as learning self-management and physical fitness, the Level 3 certificate programme covers literacy and numeracy, computing skills, communication, decision making and dealing with a wide variety of people.
“It’s also about building the students’ confidence and self-belief,” says Troy.
He plans to continue supporting students even after they graduate, helping guide them through the application process and watching them progress from there.
“We work very closely with our stakeholders to ensure our students are well prepared for their chosen career,” he says.