Published: 22 October 2020
Sharon Steed is one apprentice who has found her passion and achieved goals in a way she never could have imagined in her younger years.
Last night she was one of 41 achievers from the health and elderly care sectors, construction, agriculture, transportation, retail, and sport and recreation who attended the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs ceremony for Industry Training Organisation graduates.
It was held at Napier Boys High School, in front of proud families, supporters and employers, and featured local businesswoman, community advocate and ITO assessor Theresa O’Brien as guest speaker, and Napier City Councillor Sally Crown as MC.
The mother of three was 44 and without qualifications when a friend suggested she apply for a support worker job with Enliven East Coast (Presbyterian Support East Coast). “I loved the job, I found my passion,” Sharon says.
An opportunity to study health and wellbeing at NCEA Level 2 was swiftly followed by a Level 3 qualification, before she was offered the chance to do a Level 4 apprenticeship qualification through Careerforce. “By this time I was a Team Leader, and I was busy with family too, but I got there and I want to do more.”
Studying also provided her with opportunities to grow personally, she says, and it’s given her a better outlook of the people she works with, works for and what she wants to do in future, which includes further study.
Sharon is also now training to be an assessor, guiding and supporting others through work and study. “I used to think I’m just a mum, but I can be so much more and help other people.”
Her advice for others considering study? Just do it – you’re never too young, or too old.
Deputy Mayor Annette Brosnan, who represented Napier City Council, recalled how challenging it was to fit everything in when she was studying, and this year’s challenges have been particularly gruelling. “There’s no doubt the ups and downs the pandemic has brought upon us are affecting us all, as individuals, as families, as a community.
“The extra stress and uncertainty can be the things that make us turn away or turn down the opportunities that have brought you here, but I’m here to say to you, please don’t. Stick at it, even when it’s tough, as it’s worth it in the end.”
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst, who concluded the proceedings, says we have been recognising our industry trade training graduates for more than 10 years.
“Everywhere I go I hear businesses telling us we are struggling to get chefs, qualified health workers, construction workers, permanent qualified horticulture staff, sub-contractors are booked up for 12 months and the list goes on.
“We sincerely congratulate our graduates and their employers for this achievement and for helping our region build its skilled workforce - this has been a very special night for Hawke’s Bay as more than ever we need qualified, skilled people across all sectors.”
The Mayors’ Taskforce for Jobs began in 2000 and has grown from a group of just seven of New Zealand’s mayors to now include all of the country’s Mayors.
A voluntary organisation, while its ultimate vision is for all under 25 year olds to be actively engaged in appropriate education, training, work or other positive activity in their communities, these graduates’ events recognise achievement for all ages.
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