Liam Brown, Diploma in Adventure Tourism
Liam Brown can’t name one thing he likes about studying Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technologies Diploma in Adventure Tourism because - “it’s all awesome”.
The 17-year-old has just finished his first term of the two-year programme and is buzzing about how good it’s been.
“I’ve loved it. We’re doing different stuff every week and are out in the field lots. It’s a good atmosphere - it’s just a big group of really cool people with a common interest.”
After Motueka High School Liam enrolled in NMIT’s Certificate in Trades and Primary Industries to help him decide on a career direction, “NMIT suggested adventure tourism would be a good next step, they said I had the personality for it.”
After graduating from the trades’ programme, Liam started a summer holiday job as an assistant guide at Marahau Sea Kayaks (MSK). From there Liam enrolled in the Diploma in Adventure Tourism so he could get the qualifications needed to take on more responsibility as a guide.
“MSK has asked me back next summer which is a good feeling. I’m really keen to be able to guide tourists on my own but I can’t do that without the right qualifications. This diploma will give me more independence as a guide and will help me really benefit from the job.”
When he graduates, Liam will have enough industry-relevant and NZQA qualifications, knowledge and technical skills to work for an adventure tourism company as a guide in a range of outdoor pursuits including kayaking, rafting, rock climbing and glacier guiding or work as a snowboard or ski instructor.
In one term of study Liam has already kayaked in Abel Tasman National Park and in the Marlborough Sounds, been rock climbing in Golden Bay, worked on his rock climbing skills in NMIT’s gymnasium and enjoyed many field trips. “I’m learning so much but it doesn’t feel like study at all.”
Liam says the highlight of the programme so far would have to be rock-climbing at Paynes Ford - Golden Bay’s renowned natural climbing area. “We were climbing during the day staying overnight in a bach on the beach. At night, we’d all sit round the bonfire and play guitar - it was amazing.”
“I’d definitely recommend this programme to people, it’s great fun. You don’t feel like you’re studying, you just feel like you’re going out and having fun with your mates – it’s definitely worthwhile.”
Liam is now eagerly awaiting his second term of study and looking forward to becoming a qualified adventure tourism guide and instructor. “The plan is to spend my summers sea kayak guiding and winters on the ski field as a snowboard instructor - that would be the ideal career.”
Watch and interview with Liam Brown on YouTube:
Ann Wells, New Zealand Diploma in Business
Nelson Boat Care Ltd owner operator Ann Wells is so fiercely independent it was this drive and determination which lead her to enrol part time in the New Zealand Diploma in Business online study option through Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology. “I wanted to ensure I am managing my own business efficiently and effectively with the hope of managing other businesses in the future”, says Ann. Nelson Boat Care Ltd was opened in 2007 and looks after all aspects of boat care in the Nelson/Tasman region.
“I have always enjoyed roles where I have been in charge; to manage my own day, planning, organising and setting timelines for myself to get things done.”
For others the thought of studying online may seem daunting but returning as an adult learner, managing her own business and with family commitments Ann enjoys the freedom of being able to study in her own time at her own pace. “The online option is easy to structure my day around and get everything done. I like the fact I have to be responsible for my own learning.” Ann says the tutors have been great, helpful and enthusiastic and she’s never been stuck when she’s needed extra help or clarification.
Completing courses while managing her own business has meant she has had to learn to be even more organised but it’s also had its benefits as she is now incorporating skills learnt immediately in her business including the purchase of a new computerised accounting package. “The courses have been useful in terms of knowledge on how a business can run better. It’s a good basic starting point for anyone wanting to see what area you may want to specialise in.”
Courses from within the New Zealand Diploma in Business, a level 6 qualification can be credited towards the NMIT Bachelor of Commerce programme and there is now an option to study face-to-face in class. Ann is hoping to carry on and study towards the degree and with the new skills she’s learning she’s not only taking care of other people’s boats she’s taking care of her own business.
“I enjoy responsibility so in doing the New Zealand Diploma in Business it is enabling me to make better decisions around managing my own business effectively and efficiently.”
Katie-Jane Johnston, Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting & Management)
Katie Johnston can’t believe she’s been so fortunate. Not only does she have a commerce degree from NMIT and a great new job in a big firm, but she’s been able to do it all without having to leave Nelson. The 22 year old is a graduate accountant at WHK in Nelson. “I’ve always been interested in economics and business so I thought if I built a career in accounting it’s kind of the financial base for all business.”
Katie loves her job as a graduate accountant and being part of WHK who have around 77 staff. “It feels good to be in a big firm. I could have moved to Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch but WHK is actually as big as many of the firms in those centres anyway”.
Katie also values the range of specialised expertise within the company. There’s a tax dept, an audit dept and three accounting departments. She’s in the small business unit, doing tax returns, financial statement and letters. “I’m working with different businesses every day. It could be a plumber one day and the next someone whose business is fishing or waste management so it’s interesting to see how different businesses run.”
Initially, the main reason Katie chose to do her degree in Nelson, after leaving Nelson College for Girls, was because it was going to save her a lot of money. She did the ‘Half a degree 4 free’ and was able to live at home. “NMIT set me up. I started my working life with no debt! That’s very different from friends who left town to do their degrees, some of them have $50,000 debts and I’ve got pretty much nothing. It’s put me ahead in life.” She had even decided to transfer to Victoria University for her final years. “But when it came to it, I was enjoying it so much at NMIT and learning so well, I just didn’t want to leave.” The smaller class sizes, the attention from the tutors and the comradeship of her classmates were all more than she’d expected when she started. “The tutors were world class. They were amazing. They all had practical knowledge in their field, with many having worked internationally. Their expertise was really valuable.”
Katie says because her NMIT Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in professional accounting and management, was so practical and used real-life examples, it was easy to use the knowledge in her job. “It gave me confidence. Then, when I started work I went "right – I can do this!" and threw myself into it."
Katie’s next career move is already underway. “I’m aiming to become a chartered accountant while I work, so the studying hasn’t stopped, but thanks to NMIT I’ve learnt how to study properly and get results, so the degree was even more worthwhile than I ever thought it could be.”
Linda Mitchell, Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) Marlborough Campus
In just 12 years Lynda Mitchell has gone from working on Aotearoa Seafood mussel processing factory floor to being the company accountant with five staff reporting to her. “I suppose you could say I’ve grown up with this company. I started working here during school holidays, never dreaming I’d end up as an accountant with a business degree.”
But it was determination that got her where she is. Lynda liked accounting at school and decided to aim for a career. She completed a Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology New Zealand Diploma in Business while working part-time at Aotearoa Seafoods. Then an accountant position came up in the company. “I didn’t have enough experience for that role, but they brought me as a temporary measure to help them out – and I never went back to the factory.” Lynda stayed on preparing financial reports, then accounts payable and finally learnt to prepare the management accounts. But when she found out a colleague was enrolling to do the Diploma of Business she couldn’t resist the challenge. “I decided to go one better and enrolled for the Bachelor of Commerce at NMIT. I didn’t want to do it by correspondence. I liked the fact that NMIT had just started their video-link from the Nelson campus, which meant I could attend interactive classes in Blenheim. It was weird at first but we all got used to the fact that we could talk and be on camera with our fellow students in Nelson.”
The degree was so up-to-date and relevant that Lynda found she could apply the things she learnt in class immediately in her job. “I can remember learning about some tax issues and thinking ‘fantastic, I’ll need to use this shortly.” Lynda loves accountancy. “I’ve always liked the way it’s so logical. It has specific rules and regulations around it and you have to follow those rules. I suppose I relate well to the structured nature of the job. "In spite of perceptions, Lynda says it’s an incredibly challenging career. “Things seem to change all the time and I’m constantly being given new tasks. It’s definitely not boring!”
Aotearoa Seafoods, which is owned by Wakatu Incorporation, has around 220 staff and Lynda says because it’s a growing business there are many facets to the company, making the accounting side very varied. And she says the company was very supportive of her while she studied, giving her some study time.
Now that she’s graduated Lynda says she misses NMIT. “Studying had become a habit, so much so, that after graduation the following February I couldn’t help thinking that I should have been going back to class. NMIT had become such a part of my life that it was very strange not going back there.” Lynda says her colleagues and the tutors were really supportive, and she loved the atmosphere in class. “That’s why I chose NMIT in the first place. I wanted the structure and interaction with other students and directly with tutors.”
Courses in NMIT’s Bachelor of Commerce have been approved by the NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA) as fulfilling their academic requirements and Lynda is already on a mission to become an Associate Chartered Accountant and is looking forward to the future. “I’m up for more challenges so I’ll see where that takes me.”
Jonathan McKeown, Graduate Diploma in Management
Every day is different for self-employed communications adviser Jonathan McKeown - which is just the way he likes it.
A graduate of NMIT’s Graduate Diploma in Management, Jonathan runs his own communications business and also works part-time as a reporter for the Nelson Weekly newspaper taking photos and writing news stories.
“What I like about the roles I have at the moment is the flexibility that comes with them. I’m working for a lot of different companies, but I’m still working for myself.”
One of Jonathan’s main clients is Sport New Zealand who contract him to source stories for their online newsletter – Relay, sent out every three weeks to around 2000 subscribers nationwide. The role sees Jonathan scanning the internet for the latest news and research in the sport and recreation sector, and collating the stories into a reader-friendly format.
“It’s a really interesting contract which I can do from my home office and alongside my other jobs.”
The skills Jonathan gained during the one-year Management programme have helped him immensely in his business today. Studying strategic thinking, developing management policies and understanding costing and financial management processes gave Jonathon a lot of practical insights into working in the business world. “I also learned skills to help secure new clients, and manage my projects more effectively and efficiently. ”
Jonathan’s training also paid off financially. “During our study, we had to respond to a made-up company’s request for a proposal. Shortly after handing in my mock proposal, I had to do a real one for one of my clients - and we won the proposal. That just backed it up to me that the course was worthwhile – getting that contract alone paid for my studies.”
Jonathan says NMIT’s Graduate Diplomas are ideal for people who are seeking promotion in their existing employment, wish to widen their skill and knowledge base or are considering alternative employment – such as self-employment.
“I would recommend doing the Graduate Diploma for someone looking at getting a more practical hold on the business world. The campus in Nelson is fantastic, it’s got everything you need in one location. You felt you could achieve and succeed there - you weren’t just one of the crowd. You were a person.”
Watch an interview with Jonathan McKeown on YouTube:
Mackenzie Archibald, Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting)
Numbers make perfect sense to Mackenzie Archibald. Ever since the Nelson accountant was a child she has enjoyed facts, figures and calculation – anything to do with maths. “I like dealing with numbers, it’s always been something I’ve been interested in. I like the fact numbers make sense - there’s always an answer,” she says. As an accountant at Richards Woodhouse Chartered Accountants in Nelson, Mackenzie is able to indulge her passion every day. She looks after the financial accounts for a range of clients completing tasks such as GST and tax returns, preparing management reports and paying wages and creditors.
“I really enjoy the management side of things and doing clients’ accounts and helping them be more efficient with their processes. It’s good to be able to take the pressure off them so they don’t have to worry about it.”
Mackenzie has always had an aptitude for numbers – from primary school through to college at Motueka High School where she studied accounting and statistics.
“My dad is really good at accounts. He had an orchard when I was young and he always looked after the books – so I guess that’s where I picked it up from.”
After finishing high school Mackenzie worked as an office junior at Nelson law firm Glasgow Harley while also studying Business Administration through NMIT’s Employment Scholarship programme. The scheme allows students to gain qualifications while working full-time.
She went on to work in the company’s accounts department and later, as a law clerk before deciding to enrol part-time in NMIT’s Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in accounting.
“At first I didn’t really back myself to do the degree - but I had a lot of support from my employer and tutors. They pushed me to keep going and took a real interest. In the end, I was fine.”
While still completing her degree, Mackenzie accepted her current job at Richards Woodhouse Chartered Accountants.
“NMIT allowed me to be really flexible with my study. I started out part-time but as my circumstances changed I was able to commit more time to study so went full-time,” she says. “It was good to have the option to do both.”
Now 23, she has been working since leaving school, has a relatively small student loan and is an intermediate accountant. The next step in Mackenzie’s career is to become a Certified Public Accountant. She would also like one day to work in the accounting department of a large New Zealand company.
“Accountancy was always the direction I was heading and I’ve never really thought about doing anything else,” she says. “Right now I’m just really enjoying applying all the skills I’ve learned at NMIT and through my work experience. It’s great to be able to bring it all together.”
Watch an interview with Mackenzie Archibald on YouTube:
Lucy Ryan, Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing and Management)
Bachelor of Commerce (double major in Marketing and Management)
While studying business at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT), Lucy Ryan and a fellow student set up their own marketing company – Bliss Marketing, so they could apply the theories they were learning in the classroom to the real world.
“We did things like market research for Nelson Airport and marketing audits for small and medium enterprises,” says Lucy. “I always tried to look for the practical application and opportunities to practice what we were learning. My motto is if you’re going to do something, do it well and be the best you can be.”
The former Waimea College head girl didn’t go straight into tertiary study after leaving school. “I’d always been interested in business but didn’t know what I wanted to study. I also needed a break from studying and I didn’t want a student loan or feel quite ready to leave Nelson. However after working for a couple of years, I realised study was an investment.”
At 20, Lucy enrolled on NMIT’s Bachelor of Commerce degree and soon discovered that marketing and management was where her passion lay. She enjoyed the applied style of learning at NMIT. “The tutors were well skilled in everything and had actual backgrounds in industry and could share their personal experiences. My classmates were fantastic – very diverse and that’s what makes it special. You learn from each other’s stories. You could be studying alongside people who’ve been in business for 20 years. I found that provided extra motivation and was a good way to network,” she says.
Not only did Lucy set up her own marketing company while at NMIT, she also held down a permanent part-time job as a conference and sponsorship assistant at onCue, won an inaugural NMIT scholarship to travel to China to teach a business paper and took up an internship with the Tasman Makos to assist with social media marketing. “I had to ‘learn to learn’ and get really good at balancing,” Lucy says. “I was also really organised, and it helped that I had a great boss at onCue who was very flexible and supported my study.”
Today, Lucy is the Sales and Marketing Coordinator at The Pullman & Mercure Melbourne Albert Park hotel in Australia which is an Accor Hotel. The Accor group is in 92 countries and is the world’s leading hotel operator and market leader in Europe with 3,500 hotels, 450,000 rooms and 160,000 employees. Her role is ‘Back of House’ and involves assisting the sales team. “I pull figures and track forecasts and do end of the month reporting. I also apply the loyalty points for the hotel’s loyalty programme, update content on third party websites and take care of marketing collateral such as sales flyers. I’m the youngest and it’s a fantastic team – there’s a lot of banter,” she says.
Lucy says the company’s values are a good fit with her own – something that she sees as vital for any role she undertakes. “Whatever I do, it’s got to be meaningful and align with my values and beliefs. Accor has key values that reasonate with me –,” she says.
While Lucy is enjoying her new role and living in Melbourne, New Zealand still has her heart. “The reason I went to Australia was because I wanted to be able to buy a rental property in New Zealand, gain experience and have an adventure that would challenge me personally. I will come back to New Zealand one day though– my heart is here and being back, I realise how much I miss it. I’m proud to be a Kiwi and I love Nelson.”
Lucy says she one day hopes to work in Accor Corporate at the New Zealand national level.
With an exciting career ahead of her, Lucy believes the NMIT Bachelor of Commerce degree stacks up against any other commerce degree.
“I would absolutely recommend it but you’ve got to ensure it’s something you’re passionate about because you’ve got to be prepared to continue on even when you don’t feel like it. For me, studying at NMIT was a fantastic opportunity to save money while living at home and gaining the same quality education that you’d get at a university. You’ve just got to decide for yourself whether NMIT stacks up brand-wise. I believe it’s at the same level academically and you have better engagement with tutors due to the smaller classes. I was thrilled and proud to be a graduate from NMIT.”
After completing her studies at NMIT, Lucy went on to complete a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (Marketing) (PGDipBusAdmin) from Massey University, studying by distance.
Jeremy McIlroy, Bachelor of Sport and Recreation
Jeremy McIlroy is all set for success as a professional sports’ coach after graduating from NMIT with a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation degree.
Jeremy kicked off his career in the fitness industry by enrolling in NMIT’s Certificate in Fitness and Exercise Science with the aim of becoming a personal trainer and professional coach. He progressed to the Diploma in Applied Fitness and went on to graduate with AUT’s Bachelor of Sport and Recreation degree, which is delivered through NMIT.
He is now working as a strength and conditioning coach developing training programmes for both the Nelson Boys College rugby teams and Tasman Rugby Union’s Rugby Academy members, and men’s and women’s sevens rugby players. One of his tutors at NMIT also helped him in to work as a personal trainer at Results Gym in Nelson.
“The best thing about this career is being in a position to help people develop into professional athletes – it’s incredibly rewarding work,” he says. “NMIT really sets you up to have the tools and skills you need to be able to go out into the industry and succeed.”
Jeremy says NMIT’s fitness programmes appealed because the training was practical and they had strong links with the sport and fitness industry.
“I chose NMIT because its sports and fitness programmes are highly regarded and they offer really good practical work experience,” Jeremy says.
“NMIT has all these connections in the industry so you’re able to start working before you even graduate - it’s a bridge between the industry and the classroom so you can get that real hands on experience, apply everything you learn in class on the job and get a foot in the door to help you to the next stepping stone in your career.”
Jeremy had initially planned to become a professional athlete until an injury cut short his promising rugby career. Now, thanks to NMIT, Jeremy is looking forward to a successful future as an elite sports’ coach instead.
“Thanks to NMIT I can still be involved in top level sport, I might not be playing rugby but being part of helping others succeed where I couldn’t is the next best thing.”
Wayne Hiini, Diploma in Aquaculture
A lifelong love of the sea and marine life have led Wayne Hiini in to a career in the exciting world of aquaculture research and development.
Wayne, who is Maori of Ngati Porou iwi, is a hatchery technician at the Cawthron Institute’s Aquaculture Park near Nelson, working on a selective breeding programme for spat (shellfish larvae). His main responsibility is maintaining and monitoring water nutrient levels, checking dissolved oxygen levels, pH levels and ensuring the general health and well-being of the marine fish.
“I’m basically a babysitter, looking after these little creatures and watching them grow. It’s a great job. Everyday I’m learning something different and gaining valuable knowledge and experience within the industry.”
Wayne secured the position while on work experience at Cawthron during his first year of studying NMIT’s 2-year Diploma in Aquaculture. Before that, he’d worked for 18 years in the construction industry.
“I absolutely love and enjoy this work. Every day I’m getting more experience with hatchery techniques, biosecurity issues and awareness of environmental best practice. Here at Cawthron I am amongst the cutting edge of aquaculture research and development and at the forefront of breakthrough technology.”
Wayne plans to continue his studies with a Bachelor of Applied Science, majoring in the environment. He eventually wants to advise the industry on environmental issues, sustainability and environmental best practice, particularly around marine farming and aquaculture activities.
“I’m pro aquaculture but also pro the environment and I believe that aquaculture activity can work harmoniously within the environment if managed correctly.”
For now though, the married father of three, is looking forward to getting stuck in to his career.
“The aquaculture programme has provided me with great foundation in all areas and aspects of marine farming from management and professional communication skills to basic science, physics, chemistry and biology. I feel really prepared for the next stage in my career, and look forward to making a positive contribution to what is in fact, New Zealand’s fastest growing primary industry.”
Watch a video about the Diploma in Aquaculture on YouTube:
Theo Brennan, Certificate in Advanced Aircraft Maintenance
Theo Brennan’s apprenticeship with Air Nelson shows that perseverance delivers results. The former Waimea College student sought out work experience with the company as a teenager following a fascination with things mechanical.
Four years later, Theo is now an apprentice engineer for Air Nelson after graduating from the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology’s (NMIT) Aviation School at the end of 2009.
The 21-year old is full of praise for the skills his two-year Certificate in Mechanical Engineering (Aircraft Maintenance) gave him. “The teaching from the tutors was spot on. If you didn’t know how to do something they would soon show you. There is a lot of hands on work. It’s not just ticking the boxes. They help you get the skills you need to pass the course.”
Being located at the RNZAF’s Base Woodbourne is also a bonus, says Theo. “You couldn’t get a better place. There’s pretty much everything there, all the equipment you need.”
Theo looked at other training options before choosing NMIT’s Aviation School and says not being keen to wear a uniform or march was part of the motivation. “I’d heard good things about it. It’s also a two-year course (rather than one year) so you get better training.”
Theo is keen to stay with Air Nelson to finish his apprenticeship but thinks he may head overseas down the track given the global demand for aviation engineers. To be successful as an aviation engineer, Theo says you need good hand skills, to pay attention to detail and be hard working. “It also helps if you are into mechanical things and are pretty switched on.”
As a former recipient of an Aviation, Tourism and Travel Training Organisation (ATTTO) scholarship, Theo was identified as a promising tertiary student in the aviation, tourism and travel area in 2009. Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology aviation and tourism students were awarded four of the nine National Scholarships awarded that year by the ATTTO.
Tim Wedekind, Certificate in Advanced Aircraft Maintenance
When Tim Wedekind completes his study at the end of this year, he will be one of only three licenced aircraft engineers at his Hamilton workplace out of 35 engineering staff.
For the 22-year-old that will be quite a coup. He credits the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology's (NMIT) Aviation School with giving him a head-start. Studying online with NMIT Aviation School this year prepared Tim for the rigorous exams that make up his engineering licence.
"The courses line you up for what you have to study. I've found them really helpful. You can talk to the tutors by email and call them up if you need to."
At 17-years old, Tim left the Bay of Plenty to study full-time with NMIT Aviation School graduating after two years from its Aircraft Engineering Maintenance programme. Landing a job straight away with Hamilton-based Aeromotive, Tim has relished getting his hands dirty and learning on the job. But an ambition to progress further in the industry encouraged him to return to study after three years on the hangar floor. "It's quite a big step but then I can move up. There's not too many licenced engineers. At my company there are three out of 50 staff."
In four courses taken so far, Tim has achieved good results. Sometimes students need to resit the exams but says he has been so well prepared by the online courses that he has passed every single one the first time.
He was encouraged into aviation engineering by a school counsellor who recognised his skills from an after-school job with a motorcycle shop. "They suggested I check out the NMIT Aviation School and it started from there. Aircraft wasn't my first priority but when I studied, I got into it. We do a lot of test flights which are great fun.”
When Tim finishes his licence (in one more exam) he plans to carry on working for Aeromotive. “I’m still quite young and I want to get some more knowledge and aircraft ratings under my belt so I can work on bigger aircraft and have more of a variety in engineering.”
“If you are into engineering, being an aircraft engineer is a great way to go. There's a lot more opportunities, you can travel and with study you can progress.”
His results have inspired some of his colleagues around him to also take on online study with NMIT Aviation School and he firmly believes “more courses/study mean better jobs”. Tim’s advice to other students thinking of entering aviation engineering is to start early on your licencing requirements. “It’s a lot easier to sit your exams when you are already studying.” But if you are in the industry, studying online with NMIT Aviation School is the next best thing.
“They make it so easy for you.”
Paul Pudney, Certificate in Advanced Aircraft Maintenance
Paul Pudney is ready for take-off – in his career that is.
Within a few months of graduating from NMIT’s Certificate in Aeronautical Maintenance Engineering he landed a full-time job as an aeronautical engineering trainee at Safe Air in Blenheim.
“It felt so good to go straight from graduating to full-time work because it’s such a competitive industry. I couldn’t have got here without my NMIT qualification.”
It was only three years earlier that he was a student at Marlborough Boys College wondering what to do with his life.
“At first I thought about working as a mechanic, but a friend was doing the aviation course and he really recommended it and also, I thought aviation would open up more doors career-wise.”
He was right about that. There are lots of opportunities for qualified aviation engineers all over the world. NMIT aviation graduates have gone on to successful careers at engineering and airline companies throughout New Zealand and overseas.
As part of his job at Safe Air, Paul works with a team of engineers undertaking aviation testing, maintenance, repairs and overhauls. He finds his work incredibly stimulating and rewarding and says a highlight of the job has to be “the satisfaction of a big repair and seeing the aircraft roll out after a big servicing when it’s nearly ready to fly.”
“That’s when the whole plane is stripped down to its fuselage and wings and there are around 20 of us all working on different parts doing inspections and looking for things like cracks, corrosion or defects that could be on the outside of the plane.”
“We break the inspection into sections, it’s really systematic and can take three to five months to complete. It’s a real buzz when we’re just about to finish a plane and it’s nearly ready to take flight after working on it for so long. It’s just exciting to work as part of a team and it’s good knowing you are part of a bigger picture.”
A competitive motocross rider - he is one of Marlborough’s top riders, Paul grew up around engines working on motorbikes with his dad. An added bonus of his engineering training is that it has made him a better mechanic.
“I’m much more tidy now, everything is labelled – not spread all over the garage. I did my own engine rebuild which I wouldn’t have been able to do on my own before.”
After nearly two years as a trainee, Paul is nearly a fully qualified aeronautical engineer. His goal is to become a licenced aeronautical engineer which will see him able to sign off aircrafts after service. For now though, Paul is focusing on finishing his traineeship and building on everything he has learned so far.
“It’s a really rewarding career, I’m just really glad I decided to follow this path. It’s opened a lot of doors – I feel like I could go anywhere.”
Watch an interview with Paul Pudney on YouTube:
Beauty and Body Therapy
Tina Van'tslot, Certificate in Beauty Therapy
When Tina Van’tslot laughs and says ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’ she means it. At the age of 42 with three children and a variety of jobs behind her, she decided to re-train and start her own business as a beauty therapist. “I really wanted to do things my way for a change. I was keen to set it up the way I wanted to set it up and just be my own boss. That was important to me.”
With a vision and a will to succeed, Tina enrolled in the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology’s introduction to beauty therapy course, where she got a taste of the industry and ended up working in a beauty salon for her tutor once the course finished. After three years, Tina decided to upskill and get the qualification that would allow her to start her business, and ‘Only One Beauty’ was born.
Since she started with a home studio in Enner Glyn six months ago, Tina has been building a loyal client base and she says the qualification helped not only with the skills it taught her, but also with credibility. “I think most of my clients appreciate the certificate on the wall. They glance at it and know that I’ve trained professionally.”
Tina says the tutor was amazing and right on the pulse and she got the skills and confidence to go it alone. “I was taught a lot of intelligent information. It was challenging enough to be exciting and practical enough to hold the interest as well.” The NMIT Certificate in Beauty Therapy covers areas that Tina describes as from head to toe. “You learn a lot about the anatomy and detailed knowledge about how the skin works, and of course you learn hair removal techniques, nails and massage.” Tina says that one of the biggest skills you need in beauty therapy is the ability to make people feel comfortable.” As soon as you touch them there’s this whole trust thing happening. I’m really conscious of making clients realise they don’t have to worry, that’s it’s just a walk in the park.”
It’s a rewarding career and Tina says it’s really increased her sense of self worth, especially as the job is all about making other people feel better about themselves. “Even though you’re putting someone through some discomfort, the end result makes them walk out with a big smile on their face. There’s not one thing you do that doesn’t make them feel better about themselves. That gives me such a buzz.”
Tina is the kind of person who is always striving for something new and she says in the future she’d like to employ staff and grow the business. She even has thoughts of training to become a teacher. But whatever the future holds Tina is certain that NMIT will be a part of it. “NMIT sowed the seeds that helped me go in the direction I’d chosen. It was accessible, had great facilities and it was a fantastic environment to learn in. I will be back for more!”
Building & Construction
Tom Williams, Certificate in Carpentry
Tom Williams was looking for a challenging career – and now, after completing a Certificate in Pre-trade Carpentry at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, he has one.
Tom studied NMIT’s pre-trade Certificate in Carpentry, graduated and went straight onto the National Certificate in Carpentry (Apprenticeship). Now, just a couple of years after leaving Waimea College, Tom works full-time as an apprentice builder with Nelson-based Foothold Developments, a local company which builds architecturally designed homes and does large-scale renovations and light commercial fit-outs.
Tom was offered the job while working for the company as part of his apprenticeship training, which also saw him working for another local company – The Little Pig Building Company in Brightwater, builders of environmentally friendly homes out of straw, timber and brick.
“At the moment I’m doing a big renovation on an 80-year-old house on Rocks Road. There are four of us working on it. It’s great to be working alongside people who’ve been in the industry for years and learning from them.”
Working with a large, successful building company like Foothold Developments means he has a wide variety of jobs and responsibilities from making timber wall framings, gibbing and pouring concrete to putting up skirting boards, installing new windows and roofs and building extensions.
“With the renovation you don’t know what you’re up against until you open it up. So you’ve always got to think about what might happen next – there are a lot of unknowns. With new homes it’s more step by step and things generally go a lot smoother.”
Tom says his NMIT training prepared him well for the job and “I really enjoyed my time there and the tutors were very helpful and easy to get on with.”
One of the highlights of his training was building a two-unit house from scratch on campus at NMIT in Nelson.
“There’s a really good mix of practical and theory. Building the house was a real highlight; it was good doing something hands-on and learning all the steps it takes to build a house.”
Tom first considered trades as a career while at college, completing an NMIT STAR course in Hand Tools for Trades and now after successfully completing the Certificate in Pre-trade Carpentry programme, in three and a half years he will be a qualified builder.
“I’d recommend this career to people who enjoy a challenge, who are active and enjoy getting out there – it’s really satisfying seeing what you’ve done and looking back at the end of the day at what you’ve achieved.”
Watch and interview with Tom Williams on YouTube:
Chelsea Brooks, National Diploma in Business Administration
When Chelsea Brooks left school she had no idea what she wanted to do. Now, at just 22, she has a promising professional career thanks to a qualification from Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.
“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do after finishing school,” says Chelsea, “but I knew I wanted to be working and I didn’t want a student loan.”
Her solution was to enrol in NMIT’s Employment Scholarship programme, which allows students to gain qualifications while in full time employment.
“What attracted me to it was that most of my training would be in a workplace - I’d be getting paid and I’d only have to spend three hours a week studying. I thought I could get some work experience and see where it took me from there. As it turns out, it was a really good place to start.”
Chelsea enrolled in the scholarship programme’s two-year Certificate in Business Administration and went straight into work as an office administrator with Opus International Consultants in Nelson, where she still works. While working, she was also required to submit regular reports and study papers to NMIT.
“I get a lot of help from my tutors. They’re fantastic and always available anytime of the day. I have a lot of support from my employer as well. It’s quite good having other people in the same industry to discuss issues with and bounce ideas off.”
A big motivator for Chelsea to succeed is that her employer acknowledges her increasing qualifications and experience in six monthly performance reviews. When she went on to study the level five Diploma in Business Administration she was rewarded with a promotion from office administrator to asset management technician.
Chelsea is now charged with ensuring all the infrastructure on state highways in the Nelson Tasman region, and all roads in Nelson City, are recorded accurately in a large database. The new role has given her a good insight into how roads are managed and also means she spends equal time in the office and out in the field.
“You have to be really organised and on to it. I’ve always been like that, so it is something I enjoy, and it’s good knowing my employer has confidence in me to achieve the deadlines - I have a fantastic employer.“
For Chelsea, being part of an Employment Scholarship has been a rewarding and fulfilling experience. She has been able to earn money, learn new skills and gain qualifications - all while working in an interesting and dynamic industry.
“While my friends are just finishing university with student loans, I’ve done three years of study, worked full-time, earned money and gained a lot of skills and work experience,” she says. “I just want to keep progressing, take any opportunity and gain as much knowledge as I can from the people around me.”
Watch an interview with Chelsea Brooks on YouTube:
Computing & Information Technology
Daniel Casey, Bachelor of Information Technology
Daniel Casey has been able to get an IT degree and a job with an international technology company without leaving Nelson. He was snapped up by emerging software systems company Core Transport Technologies (CTT)as soon as he’d completed his Bachelor of IT(BIT) from the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT).
“I was recruited straight out of my degree. I got work so fast I had to take time off for my own graduation!” CTT is run from Nelson and Florida, USA. They provide IT systems for world leading companies such as Continental Airlines, US Postal Service and Delta airlines. With a $1.2m turnover and growing fast, this dynamic company allows Daniel to explore a variety of work in his role as a developer. “My main area of work is programming and data analysis for the US Postal Service (USPS) and the major airlines which carry their mail. While checking data and responding to inquiries is a big part of the job, it’s always interesting and there’s plenty of freedom to come up with imaginative solutions.”
CTT IT Development Manager Annette Schleiss says Daniel’s grounding at NMIT made him work-ready straight from the degree. “Nelson’s a small town, relatively speaking, and we’ve been lucky to have such a fantastic resource as NMIT right here and great graduates like Daniel, who is a strong academic. He’s very bright, picked up the business rules very quickly and is a valuable team member. “ Daniel, who won awards for having the top marks ever on the NMIT BIT, says he’s always enjoyed computers. “ I started programming simple computer games when I was 11 and never really stopped. Studying IT at NMIT was the natural next step in turning an interest into a career.” He knew he wanted to study IT and NMIT was the obvious choice. “I didn't see the need to travel away since NMIT offered everything I wanted right here in Nelson.
The other attraction was the half a degree for free programme - who wants to come out of study with a big student loan?” Daniel says he’s happy to now have such a great job working for clients all over the world. “My IT degree from NMIT is about as close as you can get to direct preparation for the work I’m doing now. I was provided with a learning environment where I could develop my skills to the level required in the work force.”
Daniel says at NMIT it's the people that make the place and he enjoyed the small classes where he had close interaction with the tutors and other students. “In short, I'm 20 years old, I have a degree in hand, a good job, interesting work and a career ahead of me. I'll always be the first to recommend NMIT to anyone considering a career in IT.”
Paul Gabites, Bachelor of Information Technology
When you’re married with three children, changing careers can be a tough decision. Paul Gabites went from being a baker to an IT systems engineer through the Bachelor of Information Technology at NMIT and, while it was hard, he has no regrets. “I could have simply found another job, but I really wanted to start building a career that meant something to me. It was my wife’s suggestion to go back to studying and without her I wouldn’t have done it.”
Paul has swapped his dough hook for a job at Blueberry IT where he works with hardware, software and infrastructure and he loves it. “I’ve had an interest in technology since I got my first PC aged 13. It’s the new technology that really appeals to me. You get a fairly good handle on the existing technologies but it’s the new ones that keep you on your toes and excited.”
Blueberry IT is a Nelson based company and Paul feels he was lucky enough to get an internship with them while he was completing his degree. Once he graduated he was offered a job. “I really like it. No two days are ever the same. I’m so glad I made the choice to go for this career.”
Paul admits his knowledge of computers was limited before he went to NMIT. “But the tutors there were great. They did a very good job of pacing the learning. It started off slowly and ramped up as we progressed throughout the programme.”
Paul was also impressed by the facilities and IT resources at NMIT. He says the biggest struggle was finding time to complete assignments and being a father and husband at the same time. “Time constraints were my biggest enemy, but I just had to be willing to work hard when it was possible. My family’s pride in me when I graduated made it all worthwhile.”
Being able to get a respected degree, a great job and not uproot his family was a huge bonus. He even collected a student leadership award along the way. “I think that being more mature and going into tertiary education can be really helpful. I appreciated the tuition and I saw how it was going to contribute to my employability. That meant I definitely started to feel more confident in my abilities as the degree progressed.”
Yulelani Murray, Bachelor of Information Technology
Information Technology (IT) offers fantastic career prospects and Bachelor of Information Technology graduate Yulelani Murray couldn’t be happier with her chosen career path.
Yulelani, who graduated from Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology in 2012, now works as a junior developer at Nimbus Software Ltd in Nelson. Her role involves redesigning the Nimbus User Interface, developing web templates for printing, building web pages and developing software that automate tasks for developers. She also researches future technology trends and does some custom web work for clients. “I enjoy the variety – it keeps things exciting and I am also constantly learning – I’m always figuring out new problems and ways to overcome them,” she says.
Yulelani decided to study IT at the age of 28 after working for a small web development company. However she realised she needed additional skills and qualifications in order to move into the kind of IT role she wanted. Going into full-time study for three years was a big decision for the mother of two, but it’s one she has no regrets about.
“It was quite hard being a full-time student and mum but luckily I had good family support to help me out and the NMIT tutors were amazing! Not only tech-wise, but also support-wise. Part of that support was tailoring the technical side of the course to what I was interested in – software and web development user interfaces. They helped me align the course with my interests. The technology was really up-to-date which is so important in IT and there was a lot of real world experience.”
While studying at NMIT, Yulelani received two accolades– one, an IT Leadership Award for her work tutoring other students and the other, a scholarship to travel to China to participate in teaching a software development course – an experience she describes as one of the best of her life. “It was difficult, exhausting and incredibly rewarding,” she says.
Yulelani says some of the key skills for success in IT are being a good problem-solver, enjoying technology and being prepared to be constantly learning new things - because what works today might not work tomorrow.
“The career prospects and money in IT are excellent nationally and internationally. I feel really safe about my future financially. If you’re thinking about doing this course and love working with technology, I’d say ‘do it!’ The tutors are amazing – I have so much respect for them.”
Watch an interview with Yulelani on YouTube:
Michael Robb, Trainee Ranger Certificate
Michael Robb graduated from the Certificate in Trainee Ranger in June 2010 and is now working for Te Papa Ātawhai (Department of Conservation) in Twizel.
Born of Māori and Pākehā heritage in Brisbane, Australia Michael had previously been a student at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology studying Te Reo Māori and Māori Art before enrolling in the Trainee Ranger programme. Prior to joining the programme Michael had done some volunteer work for Te Papa Ātawhai on Maud Is (a significant place to his Ngāti Kuia iwi) in the Marlborough Sounds. Michael said “I chose the Trainee Ranger programme because I wanted to know what working for Te Papa Ātawhai was all about. I had always wanted to work with endangered flora & fauna in areas that are significant to the iwi and myself.”
Michael said “I first became interested in the mahi of Te Papa Ātawhai when I was young. With the support of both my iwi I thought I’d finally do something about it and its been the best decision I have ever made.” His goal is to oneday become part of a team helping to save rare and unique species of Aotearoa as well as work alongside iwi.
Michael tells how he found the programme. “I found the programme great and getting to meet awesome as people from all over NZ. The mahi can be full on sometimes. The summer placement was awesome and I made great friends again on the West Coast, Franz Josef working with the Okarito brown kiwi.”
When asked what support services he used he said “I used help from tutors, Te Tari Māori and the Kaitakawaenga. The tutors were good, the new Waimarama facilities have been great and classmates were all great people.”
“I recommend this programme to all rangatahi, those who are keen to see how DOC works and those who want to do something they love.”
Theo Chapman, Trainee Ranger Certificate
His love of nature and his desire to make a ‘difference’ to our environment led Theo Chapman to Nelson to complete the Trainee Ranger Certificate. Born in London, Theo and his family moved home to New Zealand four years ago to live in Auckland but it was a strong desire to undertake a career in conservation that led him to Nelson to complete the Trainee Ranger programme at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT).
“I had a background in landscaping and gardening and got into conservation by doing volunteer work. NMIT has the only Department of Conservation affiliated Ranger programme in New Zealand; and that’s why I chose it over the other options,” says Theo.
“I’ve always been a keen conservationist and that’s why this programme appealed to me, to be able to make a positive difference to the environment..it’s my dream job.”
Theo graduated in 2010 and now works as a Conservation Ranger for Nelmac in Nelson. From weed control, track maintenance and construction to a diverse range of re-vegetation projects Theo says the job is varied and no two days are the same. “I work in a team of two and we have seven full time workers altogether in the Nelmac Conservation department who look after a huge range of areas owned by Nelson City Council, each team has their own areas that they are responsible for.”
Nelmac is owned by Nelson City Council and has been serving the region for over 14 years. The company is committed to leading the way in environmentally sustainable practice. Its conservation service focuses on the maintenance and development of the NCC reserve land in the hope of achieving a well balanced biodiversity future for the city; which suits Theo a great deal. “I like the fact we’re doing something positive for the environment.”
Theo said the programme prepared him well for his role with Nelmac, he enjoyed the great experiences and variety of learning plus the bonus of making friends who share similar interests and goals. “The tutors were great, classmates were fantastic and the facilities at the Brook were good for hands-on learning. I would definitely recommend this programme to anyone wanting to pursue a career in conservation.”
Theo felt well positioned to be able to approach Nelmac before the programme finished for employment. In fact Theo had submitted an application to DoC to take on a cadetship after the programme finished but withdrew his application and has no regrets. “I left the course knowing I already had the job”.
Theo says he will continue to forge ahead with his career in conservation and work his way up the ranks but he’s very happy for now. For Theo Chapman his office is the great outdoors and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Digital Design & Photography
Gary Finn, Diploma in Arts & Media (Graphics and Multimedia)
Gary Finn has changed his artistic canvas from human skin to a computer screen. “Designing tattoos was where my art was, but I wanted a career so now I do my designing digitally.” He graduated with a Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology Diploma in Arts and Media (Graphics and Multimedia) (Level 5) last year and is now studying for a level 6 diploma, on his way to completing an NMIT degree in Arts and Media.
Since leaving school in Blenheim, Gary had always wanted to make art a focus of his life, but he had to do a variety of work from furniture moving to vineyard work just to pay the bills. “When I was about 24 I decided I wanted more. If I wanted to make a career out of creativity I had to study and make some choices about what to do.” So Gary looked into graphic design qualifications and chose NMIT’s Diploma. “I wasn’t entirely sure of the final direction I wanted to take and the diploma teaches across such a broad range of areas that it seemed the most logical choice. It also meant I could be near family and friends if I stayed in the top of the south.”
Gary says graphic design is very different to pen and ink design for tattoos or t-shirts. “The only real similarity is that in both cases you work to a client brief of what they want.” And he says computers definitely have a lot of advantages over ink. “If you make a mistake you don’t have to redraw the whole thing you can just erase that particular area.” While he studies, Gary works part-time for Nelson design agency Gusto. ” You need experience, that’s why I’m in an excellent position being able to work for this great graphic designer while I’m finishing my degree. I’m being mentored and learning as I go. I’m very lucky.” He has already had some success with his design work, winning a competition to design the logo for Golden Wings - a new high level air charter company, based in Nelson. “The logo will be on the planes and hangars so that’s going to be a real buzz to see my work displayed like that.”
Getting a job after graduation is the focus for Gary, who’s determined to be at the top of an employer’s list. “I’m taking extra IT papers so that I can offer both front end and back end website design services. A lot of graphic designers only do the front end and have to sub-contract the back end design, so I’m hoping by being able to do both I have a competitive advantage.”
NMIT’s tutors have impressed Gary with their knowledge and industry experience. “They’ve just reinforced to me that you need technological skills as well as creativity to do well as designer." Gary has no hesitation about his job choice. “A lot of artists struggle to make a living, whereas graphic design is an avenue for me to still be creative and have a career with a great future."
Watch an interview with Gary Finn on YouTube:
Kayla Crimp-Palmer, Certificate in Professional Hairdressing
Kayla Crimp-Palmer had a burning desire to change her career but no idea what to do. Then she saw an ad for Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology’s Certificate in Professional Hairdressing and nothing could stop her. “I read the brochure and literally dived right into it. I had no idea what the training entailed I just turned up. Because of that impulse I’m now in a job I love.”
Kayla went straight into hospitality after leaving Nayland College, but decided she wanted to do something that allowed her to express her creativity. The Certificate in Professional Hairdressing proved to be exactly what she wanted. “I remember I arrived on the first day and I didn’t even realise we got a kit with all our own hairdressing gear as part of the course. It was all very exciting and any expectations I had were blown out of the water - it was all amazing!”
Kayla is soon to complete assessments that will see her gain the title of senior stylist at Streets Ahead salon. It’s a job she got before she even finished the course, through hard work, perseverance and the backing of her tutors at NMIT. “In this industry you have to prove yourself. I started there doing work experience on the course for one week. I then asked if I could come back and work on my day off. I was just about to finish my course and I said I’d have to leave as I needed to find a job to do my apprenticeship and that same weekend they offered me an apprenticeship. It is fantastic working here and I love every moment.”
Kayla has continued to study and has moved up the hairdressing ranks. She loves the job and meeting new people. “It’s combination of being creative and also being good with people. No two days are the same. I love that variety.” Kayla says there are a lot of skills you need to learn to do well. “My bosses weren’t keen to take on an apprentice but because I worked really hard and showed that I had the basic knowledge from the course, it was easier for them. They didn’t have to start training me from scratch. It’s all the little things. Like learning the line of a cut and even how you sweep the floor – there’s a skill even in that task .”
Streets Ahead is an apt name for Kayla’s workplace because that’s how she sees her career. She is keen to recommend the course, the tutors and the Salon days where students work on real clients. “NMIT helped me find my passion. If I didn’t do the course I really, honestly wouldn’t be where I am today. It was motivating and it opened my eyes to a different world.”
Britt Nicholas, Certificate in Professional Hairdressing
Like many young girls, Brittany (Britt) Nicholas of Blenheim dreamed of being a hairdresser when she grew up.
“I always enjoyed playing with hair and wanted to cut hair. And while my ideas about what I wanted to do changed over the years, it was just something I kept coming back to,” she says.
After completing a hairdressing taster course while at Marlborough Girls’ College, Britt decided to enrol on the Certificate in Professional Hairdressing at NMIT’s Marlborough Campus.
Today, the 18-year-old works as a second year apprentice at Sustain Hair & Wellbeing in Blenheim. The role involves normal apprentice duties such as cleaning and tidying the salon, washing hair and doing colours for clients. Britt describes the salon as more of an ‘experience’ salon rather than a traditional hair salon. “Our aim is for clients to be able to come in and relax in a very comfortable environment. We also offer complimentary treatments while people are getting their colour done,” she says. Client interaction and the chance to learn new skills are the two of the things Britt enjoys most about her job. “I like talking to people and I’m also learning something new every day and I really enjoy that.”
Britt says the one-year NMIT programme was great preparation for her current role. “It was a really safe environment to learn new skills. We had an open salon on campus which gave us the chance to be hands-on and practise our skills with real clients. Plus, if we weren’t sure how to do something, there was always a tutor there we could ask,” she says.
In future, Britt hopes to travel and work overseas in the hairdressing industry.
She advises others considering embarking on a hairdressing career to think carefully about whether they have a real passion for it. “People think hairdressing is an easy option, but it’s not. You have to be prepared to work hard and make sure it’s something you really want to do,” she says. Britt’s own passion for the industry is certainly genuine. “I want people to be able to come to me and walk out of the salon thinking ‘I love my hair’. I want to be able to say ‘Yay, I made someone so happy today!’”
Watch an interview with Britt Nicholas on YouTube:
Hospitality & Cookery
Andrew Lee, Certificate in Professional Restaurant, Wine and Bar Service
When Andrew Lee locks the doors at the end of a busy night at the Sprig and Fern bar in Milton Street, he’s thankful to have a career he loves so much. “I can’t wait to go to work. I love all the aspects of my job as Duty Manager but I especially love interacting with the customers. The best part of the job is the people you meet."
Andrew achieved his Professional Restaurant, Wine and Bar qualification through Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology and he says he wouldn’t be where he is without them. “The tutors and their knowledge were awesome. I learnt so much and they were able to teach us with lots of fun but still serious at the same time.” And it was due to his tutors knowing him so well, that he says they got him work experience in the right place. “I’m more of a casual, boutique bar kind of person rather than fine dining, so my tutor was the one who organised work experience at Sprig and Fern for me and that’s how I ended with the great job I have now and have been in for a year.”
Andrew’s passion for a hospitality job started at Nelson College, where he did a food and hospitality course. It was then he realised he enjoyed the service part of hospitality and enrolled for the NMIT Certificate. “I didn’t want to go anywhere else, as I knew from previous graduates how good the course was. The facilities are also new and the topics they taught really ticked all the boxes of things I wanted to learn about – such as cocktail making and wine knowledge to name a few. ” He says the course gave him confidence, a vital tool when dealing with the public.
Employers, such as the Mussel Inn in Golden Bay, where he worked for a summer, welcomed the NMIT qualification. “I’d really recommend the course. I’d have been lost if I’d gone straight to working in a bar without the qualification. There are so many different skills and so much knowledge you need.” Andrew proved his passion by earning the Kaimira Estate award for being top of the class, when he graduated.
At the age of 20 Andrew is already thinking about his future. “I’d really love to be able to own my own backpacker bar.” But until then he relishes every day, because of the people factor. “You have good old chats at the bar and you end up really caring for them, almost like a relationship kind of thing. No two people and no two days are ever the same, it’s great.”
Nick Dellabosca, Certificate in Professional Cookery
Nik Dellabosca had to travel to the other side of the planet before he discovered his passion for cooking. “It was the first job I’d done where I wasn’t watching the clock and waiting to go home. I just love working with food.”
Nik grew up in Murchison and went to Nelson College before he tried his hand as a plasterer. But it wasn’t until he did his big OE trip that he found his true career path. “I was in Scotland and needed a job. I went from bar work to kitchen hand and worked my way up. I found that being in a busy kitchen is a really exciting place to work.”
When Nik returned to Nelson he went straight into a cooking job at a city restaurant, but he decided he wanted to hone his skills and get a qualification. Nik enrolled on NMIT’s Certificate in Professional Cookery. “It was a drawcard to get a qualification. It really helps you get a job in this industry. It means an employer can trust you have the basic knowledge and they don’t have to start from scratch.”
Nik says the course was great. “Fantastic new facilities and even a blast chiller, it was an amazing kitchen to learn in.” He says the tutors were great too. “The course introduced me to a lot of different cooking styles I hadn’t done before as well as giving me a lot of useful organisational skills.”
Now that he’s graduated Nik works in two places – MINT fine dining restaurant at night and Stoneridge Café in the daytime. “I like the classic French style of cooking we do at MINT, where it’s real attention to detail.” Nik is in charge of starters and desserts and also helps the owner/chef prepare. He enjoys the variety that chefing offers. “It’s a good mix of café food and then fine dining. There’s always something different to do.” Nik says it’s not an easy profession to work in as there are unsociable hours and it can be challenging. “But I’m up for a challenge. I like that about the job. It’s also very creative.”
Nik says the certificate taught him some very practical skills. “One of the things which helped me the most has been learning to cook more than one thing at a time. In the practical sessions we’d have two or three things to cook in a short period and that really helped me learn to juggle lots of things.” With a qualification under his belt, Nik is keen to develop his skills to the point where one day he can own his own restaurant. “That’s a long-term goal for me. I love people loving my food. I get a buzz from the compliments from diners. It makes me feel great – that’s what I do it for.”
Rawiri Johnston, Certificate in Te Tuara me te Tinana o te Reo
Ko Hikurangi te maunga Ko Waiapu te awa Ko Ngāti Porou te iwi Tihei Mauri ora Ko Rawiri Roha Johnston tōku ingoa
When Rawiri Johnston stood at his mum’s unveiling and spoke for the first time in reo, an overwhelming feeling overcame him. “I felt proud to be able to fulfil Māori protocol on my marae,” he says. “Years ago I said to my uncle I want to learn te reo and my uncle said ‘one day you will get the calling'.” At the time Rawiri didn’t understand.
On attending a tangi back on his marae and not being able to understand or participate, his desire to learn began to grow even more. “I wanted to be able to stand up, to have a voice on the marae.” With children in bilingual units it only seemed obvious to be able to speak and have knowledge to keep up with them as well.
For Rawiri his journey to learn began when he chose to enrol in Te Tuara me te Tinana o te Reo at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) and it’s been one of the best decisions he’s ever made. He says the methods used to teach were basic and easy to understand which helped set a strong foundation in learning te reo.
“The tutors were always supportive,” he says “I’ve been in lots of learning environments through external study etc and the tutors of Te Tari Maori are world class.” The class was made up of many different cultures and Rawiri said they became one whānau and were really protective of each other no matter what background or level they were at. “I’d absolutely recommend this programme to everyone else wanting to learn and live in a Māori way.”
As a consultant for Fanselow Bell specialising in people management and processes, and chairperson of the board at Nelson Central School, Rawiri now incorporates what he’s learnt into every aspect of his life. Each board meeting now begins with a mihi whakatau and on several occasions Rawiri has spoken at pōwhiri on behalf of the school. “The knowledge I gained while at Te Tari Māori has helped me to incorporate tikanga into my everyday life.” Not only has learning te reo helped him speak but it’s also added to his confidence, personal mana and helped him see the world from a whole new perspective; his yearning to learn more has also grown.
Rawiri graduated in 2010 at a ceremony held at Te Awhina Marae and although his journey with Te Tari Maori has come to an end, his calling into Te Ao Māori or the Māori world has only just begun. Reflecting on his time with Te Tari, Rawiri sums it up in this whakatauki.
“He tangata i ākonga ki te whare tūnga ki te marae tau ana. I now can stand tall on my marae!”
Sophia Takimoana, Certificate in Te Tuara me te Tinana o te Reo
Te Tari Māori Te Reo Māori graduate Sophia Takimoana enjoys learning about and sharing her culture so she is well-placed in her current job. Sophia is an administrator for the Te Tari Māori programme area, and assistant to the Director of Māori Education at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology’s Nelson campus.
“What I like about my job are the people I work with - the staff and the students. Being at the forefront of Te Tari Māori gives me a lot of experience and insight into those that walk through the doors, and those that come in to take our programmes.”
Sophia, who is of Nga Puhi and Raukawa descent, graduated from NMIT’s Te Tuara me Te Tinana o Te Reo programme with a National Certificate in Level 4 Te Reo Māori. Her job involves public relations, external and internal networking, maintaining day to day finances and administrative and personnel services.
Being both a former student and current employee with Te Tari Māori gives Sophia a good perspective on the programme. She describes the environment at NMIT as supportive, caring and welcoming. Her experience as a student was extremely positive and rewarding.
“I chose to study Te Reo Māori because of the methodology of teaching and the experience and knowledge of the kaiako (tutor). Studying as an adult student has been fantastic for me. There is so much available in regards to learning resources, tutor help and assistance within NMIT that has helped my journey to this very day.“
The programme, one of two Te Reo programmes offered at NMIT, uses the Ataarangi method which involves whanau in the students’ teaching and learning, and welcomes them as part of the wananga or programme. Having the opportunity to involve her family was one of the things that attracted Sophia to the Te Tuara me Te Tinana o Te Reo programme, which is an intermediate level course taught part-time over two years.
“My journey is not just about me. It’s about bringing my children, my grandchildren and my mother along with me on that journey. It’s about them being present in wānanga, attending other kaupapa Māori activities and using the reo in the home environment when speaking to my moko. Now, seeing my own daughters take on the same journey is awesome.”
Watch an interview with Sophia Austin on YouTube:
Tim Gallagher, Certificate in Superyacht Crewing
“Getting qualified to work in the superyacht industry is probably the best choice I’ve made in my life,” says 20 year old Tim Gallagher of Nelson.
And it’s not hard to see why. Instead of having to work and save to do his ‘Big OE’, Tim gets paid to travel to some of the world’s most amazing destinations. His most recent trip was working as a deckhand on board a 60 metre motor yacht with 12 crew. “We started off in Monaco in the South of France and made our way through to Spain and ended up in Miami. The crew were all fantastic people from all walks of life - all different ages and from all around the world. We had fantastic guests and awesome owners. It was amazing. I got to see some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my life,” he says.
As a deckhand, Tim’s role included looking after guests and ensuring the boat was kept in pristine condition through cleaning and detailing (extremely thorough cleaning and polishing). Some of the perks of the job included being able to use the jet-skis and the tender (the small boat used to ferry passengers) as well as utilising the boat when there were no owners or guests on board.
A keen sailor from a young age, Tim completed the 12-week Certificate in Superyacht Crewing at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) after leaving Garin College and doing an outdoor recreation course in Christchurch. Tim says everything he learnt on the NMIT programme was directly applicable to the big boats he now works on. He also had a fun class and enjoyed the practical nature of the training.
“My classmates were really cool. Everyone was about the same age and had the same goals. Everyone was energetic about everything we did.”
“We weren’t in the classroom a lot. We were out on the boulder bank, or on board boats sailing or doing lifesaving courses or fighting fires – things like that. The tutors were absolutely fantastic. Our main tutor had a lot of contacts and he brought in lots of people to talk to us. He was very knowledgeable and had a lot of sea-time. We still keep in contact.”
Tim was able to live at home while studying which meant he was able to keep his costs down. Long-term, he plans to work his way up in the superyacht industry.
“Now, I’m a deckhand, I want to become a bosun, then a first mate and maybe a captain in the long-run. But before then I need a lot more sea-time and more certificates. I’ll work towards that.”
Tim says he would recommend the course to anyone. “It’s a great way to go out and see the world.”
Jaywyn Riley, Certificate in Engineering Trades
The variety, teamwork - and not having to get dressed up, are things Jay Riley likes most about her job in mechanical engineering.
“There are good opportunities for people who work hard. I really appreciate being able to learn from people who are experienced, and good at their job.”
Jay works full-time as a trainee hydraulics technician at Port Nelson-based Fluid Power Solutions (FPS), an industry leader in system design, installation, manufacturing and servicing of hydraulic systems and components for local and global industries. She secured the job after a year in CNC machining at Pro Machining, and before that completing what is now the Certificate in Engineering Trades at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.
“FPS have a retail shop, a workshop and a call out service, so it’s quite a varied job. I can be making new parts on the lathe, cleaning and refurbishing hydraulic components in the workshop, or out on site helping to remove or install equipment.”
Some of FPS’s major clients are Port Nelson based fishing companies which means working on ships is a big part of the job. “I take parts off the ship and back to the workshop, pull them apart, work out what’s wrong with them, order new parts put it all back together, then put them back on the boat. You need to be flexible because you have to work in with the engineers on the ship.”
“I enjoy engineering because it is a combination of concentrating on your own task and co-operating with the other workers to get a job done.”
While she enjoys the job, mechanical engineering wasn’t the career Jay had initially planned. After college she gained a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Canterbury, took time out to raise her two children and then, when she was ready to return to work, started looking for a job using her degree – without luck.
“I found you need to have a practical skill and be able to apply it. So I decided to retrain and get into a career.”
Jay checked out the range of programmes at NMIT and narrowed it down to a trade.
“Engineering wasn’t something I’d ever thought of doing,. I’d always been into maths and science at college, that helped “It suits people who are into maths, science, technology, problem solving, focused, determined, able to follow instructions and have a head for safety.”“I wanted a course which could lead to a job and a career that had opportunities for advancement. and I achieved that.”
Jay has been in full-time paid employment since graduating and is looking forward to developing her career. There are a range of areas she can work in within the company including on-site maintenance, in the workshop, design of systems and machinery, and sales.
“It’s a career with lots of opportunities. You have to be keen.”
Watch and interview with Jaywyn Riley on YouTube:
Sam Edmonds, Certificate in Arts & Media (Contemporary Music)
When Sam Edmonds says his ambition is to be a rock star, he’s not kidding. He’s a driven 19 year old with a plan for success. “I want to be playing drums as much as I can and making a living. My bigger goal is to be a typical rock star, touring the world and playing in heaps of different bands.”
The first stage of Sam’s plan to get that career going was to learn about music through Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology’s Certificate in Arts and Media (Contemporary Music). “Making a living from music, you need to be skilled at your instrument and also know what the band wants and play appropriately. You have to know musical elements and that’s what I learnt heaps about on the certificate course.”
Sam has always loved the drums and he’s been a member of teen band ‘Recommended By your Mom’ since he was a high school in Picton. But just gigging wasn’t enough for Sam. He wanted a proper career from his drumming. “It’s not that I need the qualification to get a job as a session musician, but I need the knowledge to go further. This course gave me that along with really great tutors who know where the music industry is at and is going. “
Sam’s fellow bandmates did the certificate too, to improve the band, but he wanted more. “On the course I was always drumming for other people and doing other genres, even if I didn’t like them. Different genres widens your skills, you learn new techniques. If I hadn’t done the course I wouldn’t have played blues, anthem rock or reggae for example.”
Sam says as well as technical musical skills it was really useful to find out about making commercial music decisions and how to market yourself using social and traditional media. “Being in a band is not like your usual job, so you do the course to get the knowledge, the experience and with the help of your tutors, the right contacts to get out into the music business.” That’s what his band did, when they were talent spotted playing at the Nelson School of Music as part of the course. That resulted in 'Recommended By Your Mom’ playing warm-up for the popular ‘Kids of 88’ band doing a sort tour stint. “We met all these famous New Zealand musicians on that tour. We’ve got our foot in the door now thanks to that.”
Latest update: Sam didn't stop learning when he graduated and went on to study Diploma in Arts and Media (Contemporary Music). “If you want to get the most out of these great courses you need to be really open to everything and everyone. It works best if you have your head immersed in music all the time, which is pretty cool if you’re like me and just can’t stop living and breathing music.”
Along with brother Josh and Matthew Johnston, Little Oceans is Sam's new creative project, which combines the energetic pop punk roots they developed as 'Recommend by your Mum' with a more produced electronic sound. Listen to Little Oceans here.
Olivia Te-Au, Bachelor of Nursing
Olivia Te-Au was all set to pack her bags for Christchurch to study science at university, then she went to an Open Day at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology and everything changed.
“At the Open Day I found out about nursing as a career and that was it - I decided to stay in Nelson and study the Bachelor of Nursing,” Olivia says. “I could see really big benefits to staying in Nelson, studying at NMIT and becoming a nurse. My mum was so pleased I wasn’t leaving home, and I could still be around my family and friends.”
Also influencing her decision was the fact she would save money on fees by enrolling in NMIT straight from Motueka High School using the “Half a Degree for Free” scheme for year 13 students enrolling straight from school in selected NMIT degree programmes.
“My student loan is a lot less than it would have been if I’d gone to Christchurch and I’ve didn’t have to worry about where to live or making a whole lot of new friends.”
Now aged 21, Olivia has graduated and started her first job at Nelson Hospital as a new graduate registered nurse. She gained the job through Nelson Marlborough District Health Boards’ Nurse Entry Practice Programme set up to ease the transition from student to practising registered nurse.
“It all went really quickly. It seems like only the other day I was starting the course and now here I am - all grown up with a career and a real job. After three years of being a student it’s really good to be in a career of choice and getting paid.”
Aside from the usual first day nerves, Olivia felt fully-prepared for the job thanks to her NMIT training.
“On my first day of work I wondered if it was going to be everything it’s cracked up to be – but it was, it’s just awesome. I’m enjoying everything,” Olivia says. “NMIT totally prepared me. Everything they taught me I’ve used in the job - there isn’t anything else they could have taught me.”
The nursing programme includes around 40 weeks’ clinical work experience spread throughout the programme. NMIT also has a training hospital on site where students practice skills and expand on what they learn in class such as applying dressings, taking blood pressures and assessing patients.
“There was a really good balance between theory work in class and practical hands on work experience. You never got sick of the theory because you knew there was always some work experience always coming up.”
She plans on travelling and working overseas as a nurse. One of the best things about the job is that you can do it anywhere.
“Nursing is a great profession and the options are endless. You can be a nurse anywhere in the world and work in a wide variety of roles. Nurses are needed everywhere.”
Watch an interview with Olivia Te-Au on YouTube:
Ngareta Campion, Diploma in Social Work
Ngareta Campion is passionate about people and seeing them flourish in every area of their lives which is why she returned to NMIT to complete the Diploma in Social Work she started several years ago.
“My passion for healthy families, and encouraging whānau and great tutor support enabled me to continue to pursue my goal of becoming a qualified social worker.”
After graduating in 2009, Ngareta began working as a Family/ Whānau worker at Family Start Nelson, an agency that provides an intensive home based early intervention programme focused on improving social, health and education outcomes for children. Her day-to-day work includes activities includes home visits, delivery of the Te Ahuru Mowai/Born To Learn parent education programme, which helps parents to learn about their child’s development and promotes parent-child attachment, encouraging well-child checks, breastfeeding, immunisations and advocacy and linking to other support agencies.
Ngareta is also involved in assessments and working with families to set and meet their own goals and plans. “It is a very satisfying job and I feel privileged to be welcomed in to work with the family in their own home. I believe that families are the cornerstone of society and that we all need to actively participate in keeping our children safe, loved and nurtured because they are the next generation and will continue to perpetuate the cycles they have learnt whether positive or negative”.
Originally from the North Island but brought up in Nelson, Ngareta was pleased she was able to study locally. “I didn’t want to leave Nelson so it was great having this course available at NMIT. The course provided me with a core understanding of social work theory, models, approaches and also challenged some of my preconceived ideas and opinions which I found stimulating.”
Ngareta says she really appreciated the tutors who were knowledgeable, approachable and very supportive. “I always felt that they wanted me to succeed and that really made a difference.”
Ngareta is certain about her career path and enjoys working within the social services and plans to study psychology in the future. “I’d love to take on an educator role within the social work field and train others”.
Ngareta is full of praise for NMIT and their staff and highly recommends the course to others. “The world needs more well trained social workers and you can get that training at NMIT.”
Amanda Browning, Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Counselling)
Timing was key for Amanda Browning when she decided at 43 to change careers and become a counsellor.
“I don’t think I could have done it 20 years earlier. You have to be in the right place to be able to do this kind of work and timing was everything – it was the right time for me.”
Amanda spent most of her career working in the airline and travel industry before deciding to take her passion for helping people to the next level by enrolling in NMIT’s Certificate in Counselling.
“I enjoyed my job but was looking for a more meaningful career. All my working life has been about helping people and building relationships with clients, so becoming a counsellor was a natural progression - it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do.”
Doing the Certificate in Counselling and Social Work programme cemented Amanda’s decision to become a counsellor. Studying full-time, she went on to gain a Diploma in Applied Counselling (Level 7) and progressed to a Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Counselling).
“Studying full-time as an adult student felt like such a privilege, I threw myself into my studies. It wasn’t easy – I had to give up my luxuries but I found I didn’t need them, I just felt fulfilled,” she says. “Now, having a bachelor degree definitely takes it to the next level – it’s made me more employable and has given me more options. I feel confident applying for higher level positions or doing further study.”
Amanda now works with Gateway Housing Trust supporting people with mental illness and also as a counsellor within their Youth Snapshot programme working with young people aged between 12 to 18. She also works one day a week at Relationships Aotearoa in Motueka, counselling couples and individuals, relieves for the Guidance School Counsellor at Motueka High School and is in the process of establishing her own private counselling practice.
Her life is very full and busy, but Amanda is relishing every minute of it.
“It’s so good to be putting my passion for helping people to good use. Thanks to NMIT I have the skills and qualifications needed to work in a range of different fields and am fully prepared for my role – I’ve hit the ground running.”
She has found being a counsellor immensely rewarding and is always learning something new.
“I love being a counsellor, it’s not just a job to me - it’s a profession. I absolutely love it. People say to me how can you sit round and listen to people’s problems all day, but that’s not what it’s about - it’s about helping people make positive change in their lives. It’s really rewarding to be part of that process.”
Watch an interview with Amanda Browning on YouTube:
Wendy Tolland, Certificate in Tertiary Learning (Pathways)
A foundation studies course has helped a Nelson grandmother get back into study and fulfil a long-held dream of becoming a social worker.
Wendy Tolland started a Bachelor in Social Work 19 years ago but had to put her studies on hold due to family commitments.
“I had young children and my husband was studying at the same time so it was just too difficult. Something had to give - and it was me.”
Then, in 2011, with her three children grown and time to finally focus on herself, Wendy decided she was ready to finish what she’d started two decades earlier.
She lacked the confidence to jump straight in to full-time study after so long out of the classroom, so decided the best place to start would be a foundation studies course to help her in her academic, personal and career development.
“I enrolled in the Level 4 Certificate in Tertiary Learning (pathways) to up-skill myself and help me get back into study mode. It was difficult at first; just getting into the swing of doing assignments and getting the brain to work, but the tutors were really supportive. I’m really glad I did it, it was a great place to start.”
After just 17 weeks, Wendy graduated and went straight into studying the Bachelor of Applied Social Sciences (Social Work) and is well on her way to realising her ambition of becoming a qualified social worker.
“Going back to full-time study would have been really daunting if I hadn’t completed the foundation course. I’m so pleased I did it, it was just fantastic. When it came to writing essays for the bachelor degree I felt confident and I thought ‘I know how to do that’ – I didn’t have to panic.”
Tourism & Travel
Olivia Moir, Diploma in Tourism Management
Olivia Moir can thank the recession for taking her career on a new and very rewarding pathway. The 19 year old had been accepted into Camp America after she finished school at Nayland College but the recession meant they couldn’t find a placement in the United States. “So I looked around for something different to do and found the Diploma in Tourism Management at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology. I enrolled just a week before the course started and it’s turned out to be the best decision I ever made.”
Now a travel consultant at the Nelson i-site and Marketing Assistant for Nelson Tasman Tourism, Olivia looks back on her two years studying on the Diploma with a lot of fondness. “The programme was even better than I expected. It was heaps of fun. There were so many field trips and industry visits. And the tutors were really lovely. It was a lot friendlier than I imagined it being. It was like learning in one big family.” Olivia says without the course and tutors she wouldn’t have the job she loves. “The tutors encouraged us to apply and with the respect the course has in the industry made it was easier to get an interview. I was offered two local jobs, and decided the Nelson i-SITE was where I wanted to be.”
Working as a travel consultant at i-SITE Nelson uses many of the skills Olivia learnt on the course and recently secured a position as Marketing Assistant for Nelson Tasman Tourism. “I’m grateful that we did a lot of customer service role playing for assessment. I learnt to be empathetic and cater for the customer needs and I use that every day in my job.” Olivia works on the front desk at i-SITE for two days a week where she says you can be doing everything from answering quick queries from tourists, to planning whole holiday itineraries. “I love what I’m doing, but maybe down the track I’d like to branch out into tourism management or marketing. Because the Diploma covered such a range of subjects, I feel prepared to try any role.” Olivia says that’s a huge benefit for anyone who loves tourism and travel but is unsure of what kind of career they’d like. “The tourism industry is so broad and the course matches that. It covers so many different areas that it can take you to whatever you want to do.” She won a scholarship after her first year but she says the real accolade should go to the tourism tutors. “I can’t say enough about them. They made us want to excel because they put so much time and energy into us that you wanted to give it back by doing really well.”
Olivia is a living example of the saying ‘when one door closes another one opens’. “I feel very lucky to have been able to complete such a quality diploma right here in my home town, and even now, I still have to pinch myself to realise that my last minute decision gave me such a great career.”
Marisa Lunai, Diploma in Tourism Management
NMIT graduate Marisa Lunai has the world in her hands. As a busy travel assistant at House of Travel in Richmond, she promotes many different countries and helps organise holidays for clients to all corners of the globe.
It’s an ideal job for the self-confessed travel-nut who has travelled extensively in her own time through Europe and America, and recently graduated with distinction from NMIT’s Diploma in Tourism Management.
“I really love my job. It’s the right place to start after completing the course because there’s still so much that I have to learn and my current job gives me the opportunity to do so. The tourism industry is such a great industry to work in, there’s a lot of opportunities and a big variety of jobs to choose from.”
One of the benefits of Marisa’s job is that once she gains more retail experience, she will be sent on familiarizations to a selection of holiday destinations to learn more about the places that House of Travel promotes. “Familiarizations exist to help us travel agents get to know a variety of destinations and gather the knowledge we need to sell a product, or country to our clients.”
Many of the skills Marisa learned during her two year’s studying at NMIT, including customer service, finance and management skills, have come in useful in her job as a travel assistant.
“I do bookings, make up travel documents, office administration, I talk with clients and wholesalers, I do all sorts of things really.”
Marisa’s training also gave her the skills she needs to one day take on supervisory or business management responsibilities in the tourism industry.
For now though, she is happy finding out more about the world and sharing that with her clients.
“I would recommend this course to anyone who loves to travel and who is interested in travelling, even if they haven’t been overseas before. And anyone who loves the tourism industry basically.”
Watch and interview with Marisa Lunai on YouTube:
Visual Arts & Design
Angela Ficagna, Bachelor of Arts and Media
As an adult student and mother of two, Angela Ficagna admits she was a bit nervous enrolling in Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology’s Arts and Media programme. But she had nothing to worry about.
“I loved studying as an adult student, the tutors are really supportive. I’ve found studying at NMIT really valuable.”
Before enrolling at NMIT Angela worked in banking and then, when she became a mother, part-time jobs that fitted around her children - now 16 and 21. Three years ago she felt it was time to do something for her.
“I studied art because it had always been a passion. I was always quite creative and I thought if I did something that I was passionate about, I’d really enjoy it – and I was right.”
Originally from Blenheim, Angela felt right at home in Nelson with its vibrant arts community. There are more than 350 artists living and working in the Nelson Tasman region and NMIT often draws on them for their expertise.
“There are lots of creative people in the Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough region so there’s lots of inspiration and there’s always someone doing something that inspires you. I’ve met some really wonderful, knowledgeable people.”
She describes the environment at NMIT as challenging, stimulating and creative. It enabled her to try new things and think outside the square.
The Arts and Media programme encourages students to not only be creative, but also use their artistic talents to communicate with their audience in intelligent and creative ways. Students are able to pursue a range of artistic avenues - from technology-based training through to the expressive arts. The tutors are all experienced practising artists, designers or writers who encourage students to push the boundaries of their creativity.
“My level 7 project emerged as a game entitled ‘Trick or Treaty’ - it parodies both the game of monopoly and the British colonial project of the 1800s.”
Angela, who is Maori of Tuwharetoa and Tainui descent, says the game was such a hit with friends and family she hopes to market it commercially.
She is also planning on further study, this time a Masters of Art and Design degree through Auckland University of Technology delivered from the NMIT campus.
“If anyone came to ask me where they should study art I would recommend NMIT. I’m really sad to have to go. I really didn’t wantto leave this year but - the programme's over.”
Watch an interview with Angela Facagna on YouTube:
Nick Haig, Bachelor of Arts and Media
Nick Haig always wanted to study art - but for a long while, he held off. “I thought it would be perhaps, too indulgent,” he explains. “Finally, I realised I had to give it a go.”
And he is glad he did. On graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and Media from Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology in 2011, Nick walked away with the top prize – the Jens Hansen Award of Excellence. It is presented annually to the Arts and Media programmes’ highest academic achiever in visual arts and design.
“NMIT’s arts and media programme is inspiring, engaging and challenging – it’s exactly what an arts and media programme should be. Winning the excellence award was a big surprise, and a big honour too.”
Nick has high praise for his tutors at NMIT. Experienced artists and designers themselves, they supported him every step of the way and were always on hand to offer advice or share ideas.
“The tutors without exception have been incredibly supportive and inspiring. Yeah – tip top really. In a way, I could say a few moments were key to my development as an artist, and that’s thanks to the tutors really.”
Another benefit of NMIT’s Arts and Media programme, he says, is that it boasts the country’s newest arts and media building - complete with extensive exhibition space and state-of-the-art facilities. Students can study, create and learn all in the same purpose-built space. “We’re very lucky at NMIT to have this new building which I think stands up against any arts school in NZ.”
Nick is a contemporary painter whose work, like many artists, is strongly influenced by his environment. He found Nelson a great backdrop to studying art.
“It offers a quiet place to retreat, contemplate and reflect without the razzmatazz of the city.”
Nick appreciated NMIT’s vibrant campus and being able to engage with people from all walks of life. “It’s a great, big diverse melting pot of ages and backgrounds. It’s been really valuable to be able to glean different sorts of opinions and views from those different sorts of people.”
After a successful first step, Nick is now planning for the next phase of his journey as an artist. “Thanks to the skills I’ve learned at NMIT I now feel able to embark on a path of art making and creating, which I don’t think I could have done beforehand.”
Watch an interview with Nick Haig on YouTube:
Jessica Quinney, Bachelor of Arts and Media (Visual Arts and Design)
A spur of the moment decision to spend lunchtime at a Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology Open Day turned Jessica’s Quinney’s love of drawing into a career path. “I was in my first job after finishing Nelson College for Girls. I was a financial administrator and volunteer youth worker and was considering studying commerce when I was presented with brochures about NMIT’s arts and media programmes on campus. I was hooked and enrolled for the Degree in Arts and Media on the spot, and then I resigned from my job, all on that same fateful day.”
Jessica has now graduated with the degree and has focussed on graphic design and digital illustration. She had a taste of digital media during the first year of the degree and hasn’t looked back. “Creating art digitally as well as industry based work, such as logos, absolutely interested me. I wanted to learn more! Graphic design was the subject that most gripped me. Here I was able mix my love of drawing with my love of digital media.” Jessica was Arts and Media student ambassador for her second and final years and was one of the first students to use the new high tech arts and media building on NMIT’s Nelson campus. “The new building is fantastic! It’s wonderful for all art disciplines to be together in one space. It is so fresh and provides the contemporary space that artist and designers thrive in. It made coming to classes even more enjoyable.”
Jessica says studying at NMIT was like being part of a fun family. She says the tutors really cared and went out of their way to make sure the students had the resources and skills they needed to achieve the best results. Jessica describes gaining her degree as a challenging and rewarding experience and she now feels well prepared for a career in her chosen field of graphic design or digital illustration. “It was so inspiring working alongside students from all different art disciplines - film, painting, textiles, music, design and installation.
It not only influenced my art practice, but made me strive to produce higher quality work.”
Watch an interview with Jessica Quinney on YouTube:
Viticulture & Wine Making
Cameron Trott, Diploma in Viticulture and Wine Production
It’s been a busy three years for Cameron Trott. He’s been a stay-at-home dad to two young sons while his wife worked and at the same time has completely changed his career. After 12 years in the hospitality industry as chef and manager, Cameron is now working full-time at Woollaston winery as a cellar hand while completing his Diploma of Viticulture and Wine Production at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology. He’s set himself on a path to eventually becoming a winemaker. “When I found out I could stay at home in Riwaka and study online through NMIT for the Diploma, it was very attractive. In fact, I wouldn’t have been able to do it any other way.” When his boys were off to school and day-care, Cameron would log in and study. “The first two years were brilliant. I could fit it around my family life and with the tutor support it all worked really well. I loved it so much that I actually enjoyed sitting down with a cup of coffee to do my required reading. I just soaked it up.”
Cameron was keen to get hands on and use the knowledge he was learning. So he made contact with Nelson wineries. “Nelson is much smaller than Marlborough but we have a fantastic range of wineries and wine styles here to learn from. Nelson produces some of the best wines in the country and we have a lot of really established producers, so it’s not a disadvantage staying in Nelson to study.”
On an NMIT winery field trip, Cameron was talking to staff at Woollaston about how hard it was to get a full-time job locally. “They said, ‘funny you should say that because a fulltime cellar hand job has just come up’. So I jumped on that really fast.” Now working full-time, fitting his online study around it has been a challenge, especially during vintage, but Cameron says it’s all worthwhile. “It’s an amazing winery to work in.. I get to do so many things that it really helps with my study.. What’s exciting is that the winemaker is really good about making decisions as a team. At tasting or blending trials he’ll bring me in on that – so it’s pretty amazing for me as a cellar hand to be part of those winemaking processes and decisions.”
Cameron says it will end up taking him up to four years to get his Diploma but he says it’s vital to get that qualification. “I want to get an assistant winemaker position and eventually end up as a winemaker and to do that you have to have tertiary qualifications. Most job ads for winemakers specify that you need qualifications. It’s the norm now and for bigger wine companies it’s just one of the boxes you’ve got to tick.” Cameron says the flexibility of the NMIT programme meant he was able to change his life. “It’s a really great system because you can move in any direction without having to move away from your home to study or re-train.”
Mike Brown, Certificate in Vineyard Practice
Since Mike Brown graduated with his Certificate in Viticulture from Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology he’s done every job there is in the wine sector culminating in his current job as CEO of Mäori owned Kono Beverages – makers of the iconic Tohu wine label. “I’ve worked in all sectors and I’ve seen every aspect of the industry. Even though I’m a manager now, my passion is still strong for growing good grapes and producing great wines.” Mike realised the attractions of a career in the wine industry in his mid-20’s. “You got to do something different every day. It was working outdoors following the seasons, then the winemaking which is a great combination of art and science. Add on the whole marketing and sales side of the business and it seemed like a really complete job that could make for an interesting life.”
To follow his dream, Mike moved to Marlborough to study at NMIT. “It was 1993 and there were only 11 wineries in Marlborough then, things were just starting to take off. The NMIT course was the perfect entry into the industry. Of the 15 of us on that course that year there are quite a few who have gone on to become leaders in the wine industry. We all got our start through the course and the great contacts that gave us.”
Mike’s first job in a winery was for Vavasour – at that time the only winery in the Awatere Valley and processing just 100 tonnes. Then it was six years of back-to-back vintages for Mike in New Zealand and overseas – Australia, Chile, Argentina, Spain, France and California. He got his first break as a winemaker in Chile: “I was offered a job at Viña Tarapacá. It was a case of being thrown in the deep end looking after a 1000 tonne crush for them.” Mike worked two vintages before accepting a job for a wine consultancy working for a French wine co-op in Gascony one year and a Spanish co-op in Somantano the following year. “It was good to see that there’s more than one way to make wine. I accumulated what wine makers call ‘battle experience’ – clocking up vintages and learning about harvest, the winemaking involved, and the logistics of that process.”
Mike returned to Nelson to take up the position of Waimea Estates’ first full-time winemaker. After two years he was given the additional role of general manager. He stayed for a e stayHdecade, helping to build up that business, before he moved to his current role of CEO of Wakatu-owned Kono Beverages in 2010. “The challenge of managing and growing a business in the current environment is hugely rewarding. Although I’m not Mäori, I particularly like working in a Mäori organisation. There’s an extra layer of complexity that makes this job really worthwhile. I also relate to the way the owners talk about the land and the way they treat people - it’s more like business with somemeaning behind it rather than business for its own sake.” Kono Beverages produces 100,000 cases of wine currently, from vineyards in Nelson and Marlborough. Most of it is exported to the USA, Australia and the Netherlands, but with an increasing emphasis on Asia. In the pipeline are projects to go organic and carbon zero, a dedicated Nelson wine brand, as well as new products including cider, beer and bottled water.”
Mike Brown is hugely supportive of NMIT’s viticulture and wine production programme, having taken on students for placements over the years. “I always thought the people coming from NMIT tended to be very practically minded. At the end of the day you want someone who knows one end of a pump from the other, is reliable and can think on their feet, as well as having the basic theory. That’s what the NMIT course gives you.”
Watch and interview with Mike Brown on YouTube:
Hiroyuki Kishida, Diploma in Viticulture and Wine Production
Hiro Kishida was working long hours as an IT specialist in Tokyo’s urban jungle when he had a revelation.
“I wanted to change my lifestyle. I loved wine and I loved pinot noir, so I Googled winemaking and checked viticulture courses in English-speaking countries,” he says. “I chose New Zealand because it makes good pinot noir, is a very safe country and easy to live here.”
Hiro moved to Marlborough with his wife Yuko and enrolled in the Diploma in Viticulture and Winemaking programme at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology. He liked the fact the programme was practical, had its own vineyard on campus and students got hands-on experience producing their own wine – from grape production through to harvest and wine-making.
“When I started the NMIT course I knew nothing about wine-making, but now I know a lot. It’s a very good course. It was very practical.”
Hiro graduated two years later and went straight into a job as a cellar hand and a vintage supervisor with Mud House winery in Marlborough. He got the job while on work experience as part of his NMIT training.
“Compared with my IT job in Toyko it’s a totally different life,” Hiro says. “It used to take 1 ½ hours to get to the office by crowded train, but now it only takes 10 minutes - I can have a life. I like making wine and working outside in a physical job.”
Hiro’s passion is making high-quality wines. Several of his vintages have won prestigious awards, including gold medals at the Air New Zealand Wine Show.
“Making wine is a science and an art. You are creating something people can enjoy and good wine is beautiful. I’m always thinking about quality and I’m very proud to be involved in making high-quality wine. When we win gold medals I’m very happy – especially if it’s for Pinot Noir.”
Hiro hopes one day to be winning awards for his own wine label.
“I want to have my own vineyard in Nelson one day, and I want to make my own brand specialising in Pinot Noir – that’s my dream.”
Watch and interview with Hiroyuki Kishida on YouTube:
Stephen Jackson, Diploma in Viticulture and Wine Production
Steve Jackson never thought at 50 he’d be starting all over again in a new career. But, that’s exactly what happened when he moved to New Zealand, caught the winemaking bug and enrolled in NMIT’s Diploma in Viticulture and Wine Production.
“I was 50 when I started the course. I thought I was beyond study but it turns out I’m not.”
Steve is now a vineyard assistant at Mount Base Vineyard in Waihope Valley where he works alongside the manager overseeing 51 hectares of sauvignon blanc grape vines. The job appealed because it will give him the experience he needs to realise his goal of becoming a vineyard manager.
“It’s quite a varied role. I love being outside and there’s such a variety of jobs I do. It’s perfect as a new graduate because you’re at the front-line and learning something different every day.”
Steve is originally from the United Kingdom where he worked for 22 years in the British Air Force as a weapons’ technician before retiring to set up a landscape gardening business and later moving to New Zealand with his wife.
It was while applying for a job as a vineyard worker at Oyster Bay winery in Blenheim that he first considered viticulture as a career. “The manager looked at my CV and said that with all my experience, I could do his job. He’d studied viticulture at NMIT and highly recommended it because it really sets you up for work in the industry.”
Never one to jump in head first though, Steve looked into the course in great detail before enrolling.
“That’s how I am, I like to know what I’m getting myself in for so I really considered it thoroughly. The more I learned the more I realised how much was involved in the programme and how well laid out it was - I was really impressed.”
One thing that stood out to him was how practical the programme was. NMIT has its own vineyard and wine laboratory on campus, allowing students to experience the entire grape growing and winemaking process over their two years’ of study.
“It’s really good to have a vineyard and winery facility. We were actually able to make our own wine from grapes we helped grow. We did the pruning, picked our own grapes, tested them, made our own wine and did all the other seasonal tasks you’d do on a real vineyard.”
Steve is now enjoying putting his newfound skills to practice in his current job where his responsibilities include harvesting grapes, spraying and pruning vines, constant water maintenance and generally making sure the vineyard is healthy.
“I really enjoy looking after the young vines, they’re the future of the vineyard. They may need a bit more TLC because they’re more vulnerable, but I just enjoy seeing them thrive, “ Steve says. “You have to look after your young, that’s the way I look at it. You’ve got to think of the future.”
Watch and interview with Stephen Jackson on YouTube:
Ben Burridge, Diploma in Viticulture and Wine Production
Ben Burridge believes the New Zealand wine industry has a big future in organics - and he intends to be part of it.
“I can see myself in a few years owning my own organic vineyard somewhere around Marlborough,” he says. “There’s a lot of potential for organics and it’s a really nice way to make wine.”
For now though, Ben is content learning all he can as a cellar and vineyard hand at Wither Hills winery in Blenheim, where he has worked since graduating from Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology’s Diploma in Viticulture and Wine Production and winning the Wither Hills’ Scholarship for high achievement in 2011.
“I work in the winery but I’m also out in the field a lot driving tractors and getting about on farm bikes,” he says. “I’m able to experience the whole process of the wine production, from growing and harvesting the grapes to making the wine.”
Ben’s interest in organics was sparked while studying at NMIT and spending time on student work placement at Huia - an organic winery in Marlborough.
“Organics is a growing market and it’s good for New Zealand’s image and good for the land and our health,” he says. “NMIT had quite a big focus on organics because they try and show us all the different ways of producing wine and the different philosophies that go into making it and doing viticulture.”
He is passionate about it now, but viticulture was not a career Ben initially considered. After leaving school in North Otago, he gained a double degree in Management and Art from Otago University with the intention of working in the corporate world.
“I thought I’d be a corporate CEO making millions of dollars. As I got older, I could see that working in an office wasn’t for me - I wanted to be more land-based and more specialised in my career.” It was while travelling overseas to countries including Italy, that he realised the potential for the New Zealand wine industry – particularly in organics.
“I want to be in an industry that’s dynamic, where you’re making a range of products of different qualities,” Ben says. “There are several wine regions in New Zealand, growing different varieties of wine so there are lots of options. It’s also one of the few industries in New Zealand you can work in organics as well, that was a big draw card.”
With the NMIT Diploma completed, Ben is now completing a further year of study plus summer school to gain a Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology through Lincoln University under the pathway agreement with NMIT. Ben says NMIT’s viticulture programme appealed to him because a lot of the training is practical and hands-on, it offers excellent work experience opportunities and is in an ideal location.
“The main thing is the course is in the biggest wine producing region in New Zealand. You can get connections and network so easily, there’s just so much going on with wine. If you’ve got a passion for it, it’s an awesome place to be.”
“I learned heaps of practical skills at NMIT and got loads of experience - it’s made me more employable. When you graduate you’ve done a vintage, you’ve got your work experience and your certificates - so you’re ready to go.”
Watch and interview with Ben Burridge on YouTube:
Krystal Palmer, Diploma in Viticulture & Wine Production
Diploma in Viticulture & Wine Production (Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology) and Lincoln University Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology
Cellar hand and lab assistant, Yealands Estate
Most women who find themselves pregnant in the middle of an intensive two year diploma might consider dropping out - or at least taking a break from their studies. Not Krystal. Instead, the determined 26-year-old from Blenheim who was part-way through the Diploma in Viticulture and Wine Production at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT)’s Marlborough Campus enlisted the support of family and friends and ploughed on, by switching to NMIT’s online study option.
“It was really full-on and I couldn’t have done it without that family support. I studied early mornings, evenings and weekends. The NMIT tutors were really supportive and understood my situation,” she says.
Krystal decided to study viticulture and wine at NMIT after several years working as a dental assistant both in Blenheim and overseas. “When I returned to New Zealand, I decided I didn’t want to do that anymore. I wanted something that was a complete change but didn’t really know what I wanted. I went along to the NMIT Open Day and talked to the viticulture and wine staff and something just clicked. I knew I wanted a career where I’d have a lot of variety, and I’ve always enjoyed science. I also wanted to be able to stay in the Marlborough region,” she says.
Krystal says she enjoyed studying at NMIT and particularly appreciated the many field trips and guest lecturers who were brought in to talk to the students. “These people were all potential employers so we had the chance to make really good contacts for when it came time to find a job.” She also enjoyed the well-equipped on-campus winery and laboratory. “All the lab-based exercises were really beneficial. We learnt how to do things using the most modern equipment, but also with more basic equipment, so we were prepared to work in any sort of winery,” she says.
After completing the two year diploma, Krystal was able to pathway into the third year of the Lincoln University Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology which can be studied independently at NMIT’s Marlborough Campus. The degree has an emphasis on the integration of grape growing and wine-making and includes 18 weeks practical work experience.
Today, Krystal is a cellar-hand and lab assistant at Yealands Estate. Located in the Awatere Vallley, Marlborough, Yealands Estate is known for its award-winning wines produced in harmony with the environment and its colourful founder Peter Yealands. Krystal says it’s a great place to work with a good staff culture. “I enjoy the variation – every day is different.” Krystal’s job includes cellar-hand duties such as bottling, racking and transferring wine however she also does two days a week in the laboratory, taking and analysing samples and working closely with wine makers.
Krystal is happy to be gaining valuable experience and learning all she can in her current role as she works toward her goal of becoming a winemaker. And one suspects that given the level of determination she showed to complete her studies while raising her daughter, achieving that next step is only a matter of time…