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Gateway to a job

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10 August 2021

Giving it a try and spending some valuable time alongside the Citycare Water teams while they work is becoming a true gateway to employment experience for high school students in Taranaki and Auckland.

This year Corey Elliott from New Plymouth Boys High School and Max Mitchell from Pukekohe High School are getting a taste of three waters maintenance one day a week while they attend school for the rest of the days.

Last year Kala Fakavamoeanga was a Taranaki Futures into Infrastructure Gateway student while attending Stratford High School and now he is a full-time employee of Citycare Water based in Stratford.

“During my work experience I got to work on water and sewer networks in Stratford and also did a variety of smaller jobs,” he says.

“I liked the water jobs the best; it can be more difficult to enjoy drainage – it’s not always fun,” Kala says.

“I was enjoying the work I was doing at Citycare Water, so I decided to take up the job opportunity. I am enjoying working outside and doing physical work, and most importantly learning lots,” he says.

“I live in Eltham so Stratford is a 10-minute drive and it’s good to be able to work locally.”

Citycare Water’s work in Stratford involves water and waste reticulation business:  meter reading, inspection work including manholes and valves, water and mains repairs, unblocking sewers etc and during his work experience Kala was exposed to all of these areas.

When the team went to a careers day in Stratford recently, Kala went along.

“You could see he was very comfortable in this environment – being face-to-face with people, he’s got good communication skills, he can be a leader, he plays sports, and there is good future for him to grow within the business with this attitude,” Citycare Water Taranaki Manager, Tony Ewens says.

“It’s early days but we’re very proud of his achievements, going from Gateway to pre-apprenticeship and seeing this growth representing his team at the Health and Safety committee, it’s very motivating for our local youth.”

It’s likely Kala will progress into a trainee type of role and undertake Connexis industry training so he can improve his skills and earn qualifications while working.

And Kala’s tip for young people who are searching for their career path? “Just get out there and try it,” he says.

Meanwhile, Corey is doing his work experience in New Plymouth this year with the same Taranaki Futures into Infrastructure Gateway programme.

“One of the most interesting things is that there is a lot more behind the scenes with water than what I expected,” Corey says.

“Corey is really enjoying coming here every Friday. He is enjoying directional drilling – he likes machinery,” Tony says.

“He’s enjoying the team and the people he’s working with. We’re now discussing with him the other different options he could explore within the business and the other avenues available to him. Next we’re planning on doing some CCTV work.”

In Auckland, mentor Anthony Williams says Max is currently shadowing different team members in the Reactive Water Maintenance Team on jobs such as leaks and water main breaks and the feedback has all been good.

“Max is really enjoying his time. He mentioned to me that completing simple tasks like replacing water meters actually gave him a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day,” Anthony says.

“He takes an interest in the job and he’s been enthusiastic and helpful."

Gateway Dave Kim Kala Gateway student and Brett at the Stratford branch

Gateway Max Auckland student

Max Mitchell