MyStart programme re-ignites engineering dream for Neihana
Neihana Umuroa of Whangarei is now more assured about his career direction after last year discovering NorthTec’s
Neihana said MyStart had succeeded where school had failed managing to hold his interest while giving him the confidence
and direction he needed to ignite his pursuit of an engineering career after he dropped out of school at 15.
Neihana never felt comfortable at school as he felt like he was trapped. However, on MyStart he found the experience
completely different. “It offers you more freedom and you are made to feel like an adult when on this programme. From
day one it was mean. I was really into what I was learning,” Neihana said.
Growing up, Neihana had aspirations of becoming an engineer of some kind, pulling apart just about any motor and trying
to put them back together again for small home projects. Dropping out of school made him feel that any hope of him
achieving his goal had vanished. That was until he discovered NorthTec’s MyStart programme.
MyStart is a Government-led initiative which provides 16 to 17 year-olds that might have suited the school system
opportunities to discover career pathways with free fees in their first year of study. The MyStart Programme at NorthTec
is tailored to the specific education needs of the region.
Students can choose from a range of eight first-year introductory options before deciding whether to go and pursue a
modern apprenticeship, enrol in a NorthTec national certificate or follow another tertiary study pathway.
Thanks to NorthTec’s MyStart Programme, Neihana is well on his way to realising his goal of becoming an engineer.
After completing the Introduction to Trades and Technology in 2011, Neihana is keener than ever on engineering and he is
planning to move into a NorthTec Pre-Trade automotive engineering Certificate this year, prior to signing up for an
apprenticeship in the industry.
During last year’s course Neihana and others were involved in designing and building their own motorised mini-bikes,
twelve in all, that they got to test out at the Whangarei Kart Club supported by parents/guardians and other MyStart
staff and students.
Working on the mini bikes gave Neihana and his classmates the ability to practice basic but essential engineering skills
like welding or, bending steel tube and assembly work while developing all-round knowledge by completing a Vocational
skills certificate as part of the programme.
“Building my bike was awesome fun and pretty much started my life. It opened the door to me being able to study
Starting on January 25, NorthTec will be holding the first of seven MyStart Roadshow events at different locations
The roadshows aim to give potential students, parents/guardians, and whanau important information on the MyStart
programme so people can size up if the programme is a good option for them as it has been for Neihana. These will
include presentations by tutorial staff, an overview of the programme and campus tours.
For a full list of the MyStart Roadshow locations and dates visit www.northtec.ac.nz