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Last minute decision leads to study opportunity at EIT | Te Pūkenga

July 19, 2023

Zane Knight received a Te Toka Scholarship to be able to study carpentry at the Tairāwhiti Campus of EIT | Te Pūkenga.

A last minute decision to sign up for a construction programme at EIT | Te Pūkenga has worked out well for 19-year-old Zane Knight (Ngati Porou), who has no doubt that he wants to be a builder.

Zane (Ngāti Porou) was born in Australia but grew up in Tairāwhiti, going to school at Gisborne Boys’ High.

While still at school, Zane went to work at the local Countdown supermarket where he became a supervisor. However, he soon realised that he wanted to pursue a different career having worked through COVID-19 when supermarkets were essential services.

“It was a bit of a career change. Just growing up, really and starting a mature job.”

He soon heard about the NZ Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Carpentry) [Level 3] at the Tairāwhiti Campus of EIT | Te Pūkenga early last year. What attracted him was the fact that it was  local and he could be close to family.

“So it was just a last minute decision to become a builder, but I am pretty happy with it..”

He was aided by a Te Toka Scholarship, an initiative that helps Māori and Pasifika people aged 16-40. It offers free training in trades with backup that’s needed, along with help at the end to get into a job. Te Toka scholarships are backed by a skilled team of support people.Among the support options are help with reading, writing, maths, computers, finances, accommodation and driver licences.

Zane has come a long way since then and is now doing the NZ Certificate in Carpentry [Level 4] part-time as part of his apprenticeship, which he is doing through local construction company DStevens LTD.

“They started me on my apprenticeship this year, but I started working there in November.”

Not only is Zane working hard, but he is also using his new found skills to help his whānau.

“My grandparents’ carport got taken away in a storm. It wasn’t Gabrielle, it was something else. But the carport pretty much just collapsed on itself. And since I was doing building at EIT, I thought, ‘Oh, yeah, I could go up and help them rebuild it.’”

The good news is that it is it still standing.

With him finishing up his apprenticeship this year, Zane will keep working at DStevens and continue studying the Level 5 and Level 6 programmes at EIT | Te Pūkenga, until he becomes a qualified builder.

It is clear that the building bug runs in the family as Zane’s brother Zion was so inspired that he is currently enrolled in the NZ Certificate in Building, Construction and Allied Trades Skills [Level 3].

Adding to the family environment, Zane’s partner, Cayla, is studying to be a teacher at EIT|Te Pūkenga.

“We see each other on campus, but we’re really busy at the moment. We both just go to course and come home and rinse, wash and repeat.”

Zane says that the best part of studying at EIT | Te Pūkenga has been the people.

“It really changed my life. They have shown us different aspects of building. There wasn’t just one thing you could do; you can do more. And just gaining knowledge out of everybody.”

EIT | Te Pūkenga Carpentry Tutor Howard Irving says: “Zane came on to the programme with a clear goal, that being he wanted to work in the construction industry and that is exactly what he’s doing. It is also nice to see his brother Zion coming through my programme this year – with the same goals.”