Charlie Wallace, 18, has previously had some struggles, including minor brushes with the law, but has turned his life around after completing a forestry course through Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Rotorua.
Te Wānanga o Aotearoa teacher Shand Edwardson spends some time at the Rotorua courthouse to answer questions from any young person interested in working in the forestry industry.
Meeting and chatting to Shand inspired Charlie to give the forestry course a go. He completed a Level 2 Certificate in Forestry Industry Training during semester A this year, and is now two months into his job at Mahi Rākau Forest Management.
He says: "It's been a good transition from the books, to going out and doing the practical work."
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Securing fulltime work has helped Charlie provide for his partner and newborn baby. He's just been able to buy a car for his family, saying this took a big weight off his shoulders as a new father.
"I don't know where I would be now without this job. I'm loving it."
The course caters for about 15 students each semester, with the hope that many will go straight into fulltime work. Twelve of the 14 students from the semester A course are already in fulltime work.
Shand says there is still a high demand for those who are keen to work in the forestry industry. "All they really want is people who are going to go to work five days a week and be drug free."
He just started teaching a 22-week course out of the Waiwhero campus in Rotorua. Anyone interested in the forestry course in Rotorua can contact Te Wānanga o Aotearoa on 0800 355 553 or click here for more information.