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Former EIT | Te Pūkenga Services Pathway graduates live Antarctic dream

January 26, 2023

Former Two EIT | Te Pūkenga Services Pathways students Brock Coulbeck (left) and Will Carter have begun a deployment with the New Zealand Army in Antarctica.

Two graduates of the EIT | Te Pūkenga Services Pathways programme are experiencing a trip of a lifetime, having recently been deployed to Antarctica for about two months as part of a New Zealand Army deployment.

Twenty-year old Will Carter and Brock Coulbeck, 19, are Movement Operators in the New Zealand Army and their deployment will see them unloading scientific equipment, building materials and operational supplies off ships and aircraft at the USA’s McMurdo base in Antarctica.

Will, who attended Napier Boys’ High School, graduated from the NZ Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Services Pathway) at EIT | Te Pūkenga in July 2021 and enlisted in the NZ Army in February 2022.

Brock, who finished his schooling at Karamu High School in Hastings, enlisted in July 2021 after graduating from the programme in February 2021.

Movement Operators are responsible for moving the New Zealand Army from A to B efficiently. The role sees them organise the transport of troops, equipment and vital supplies to places worldwide, including Antarctica, South-East Asia, the Pacific Islands and the USA.

Brock and  Will arrived in Antarctica on January 16 and will be rostered 12 hours on 12 hours off throughout their Tour of Duty, where the average temperature on  the ‘ice’ is  minus 2 degrees.

“I am really grateful to be deployed so early in my career,” says Will.

Todd Rogers, the Head of the School of Trades & Technology at EIT | Te Pūkenga says the deployment was a great opportunity for both men.

“Both are really good lads and who just had a passion to join the Army and we helped them on their way.”

“Will’s only been in the Army for 11 months so I think he is very fortunate to be deployed so early in his career.”

Todd, who has been in contact with Will and Brock since they have been in Antarctica, says they are both enjoying the experience and finding it an “eye opener”.

Interest in the Services Pathways programme at EIT | Te Pūkenga is currently high, with “double the numbers we normally have,” says Todd

“This programme has been really successful. Over the duration of it, we’ve been knocking on the door of 90 graduates into the Defence Force.”

“We get huge support from Defence Recruiting as we are providing a pathway for people to enlist in the NZDF.”

Todd says the programme is designed to prepare students for life in the Defence Force, especially their initial training.

“There’s a lot of physical training. We get them fit. We prepare them for the entry tests. We also take them on a three-day visit to Waiouru military camp as an introduction. And that’s the winner. That’s what breaks down all the barriers.”

The students are taught by experienced ex-army tutor Andrew McCrory and Todd himself had a 15-year career in the New Zealand Army.