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EIT Services Pathway programme in Waikato prepares single mother for police service

May 18, 2024

Jess Hohepa is enjoying her time on the EIT Services Pathway programme and is looking forward to becoming a police officer.

Completing a new Services Pathway programme offered by EIT in Waikato, has set a single mother up for a career as a police officer.

Jess Hohepa (Raukawa ki wharepuhunga Tuwharetoa Tainui Ngati Maniapoto and Te Arawa) is currently enrolled in the Services Pathway programme at EIT and upon completion will then go down to Police College in Wellington to become a police officer.

It is a dream that the 31-year-old has had for years, but has only recently pursued seriously.

Born and bred in Te Awamutu, Jess grew up with te reo as her first language and completed her schooling at Te Awamutu College.  She was initially drawn to a career in nursing and enrolled in a foundation programme at the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) before starting the Bachelor of Nursing.

However, she soon realised that nursing was not for her.

“I thought I could handle the sight of blood, but it turned out not to be the case.”

She returned to the Kohanga Reo in Te Awamutu which she had attended as a student and became a kaiāwhina.

She was there for about four years, but moved into different jobs after that.

“I pretty much went from job to job after that to find my feet on what I really wanted to do. Don’t get me wrong, being a police officer was always my dream but what was holding me back was that I didn’t have my full license. I was still on a restricted, so I had to make sure that I had my full licence before I could apply.”

It was the birth of her daughter, Satieva-Jade, in 2019 that motivated Jess to get her full driver’s licence so that “she was safe in the vehicle with me”.

Jess devoted the next few years to caring for her daughter, which Jess felt was important “because those are the most important times of their life”.

“Satieva-Jade going back to school was my motivation to make my dream come true.”

That dream began when Jess was told that EIT was starting a Services Pathway programme in Hamilton, where she was based.

She is loving the programme, which has ten other learners under tutor Zac Te Maro.

“The progamme was not very well known in Hamilton, but Matua (Zac) has done a pretty good job with recruiting. He is also an amazing tutor. If it weren’t for him I wouldn’t be as far as I am today.”

“The best thing I like about the programme is the consistency really, and the planning that goes on throughout the day. “

Fitness and exercise is an important part of the programme and Jess says she was encouraged by Zac to simply do the best she could.

With the programme coming to an end, Jess is now poised to go down to Police College in Wellington for 20 weeks. She is looking forward to it, secure in the knowledge that Satieva-Jade will be taken care of.

“She’s got a lot of support here, so I can go off and do what I need to do to make her future brighter.”

Jess is looking forward to becoming a police officer and is keen to eventually work in the canine squad.

“I absolutely love dogs and have had them since I was young.”

EIT Services Pathway Tutor in Hamilton Zac Te Maro said: “At the pre-course interview it was evident Jess was going to be a police officer.”

“She clearly articulated why she wanted to be a police officer and how she planned to go about achieving her dream. Jess’s maturity (in terms of life experience) and natural leadership qualities were evident early in the course. Younger students have turned to Jess for guidance and mutual support.”

“Jess has worked hard to achieve outstanding results to date. A lover of sports, Jess’s physical attributes stand out and will be well suited for a career with police. She continues to reduce her run times in preparation for the police Physical Assessment Test (PAT).”

Zac says that on a recent excursion to Waiouru involving 40 EIT students from Hawkes Bay, Tairāwhiti and Kirikiriroa Hamilton, tutors recognised Jess for her sound leadership and physical resilience.

“It is without a doubt, Jess will serve her community with pride and professionalism. It has been an absolute pleasure being involved in Jess’s journey and EIT wish her well for the future.”