Finding a home at Zealandia

Last updated 09:15 07/11/2012

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The Wellingtonian

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The Gateway programme has given Hutt Valley High School student Ashley Joy some direction in his life.

The year 12 student has spent the past four months working at Zealandia as part of the industry training programme.

‘‘Before I got on Gateway I thought I was good at nothing but the programme allowed me to find out my real skills and real dream job,’’ he said.

‘‘If it wasn’t for Gateway I would have probably dropped out of school. Zealandia is the perfect placement for me.’’
Gateway helps students build skills for employment, working in real work places and on real tasks.

Zealandia facilities manager Russ Drewry said he was initially sceptical about hiring the 16 year old.

‘‘However, not wanting to put prejudice before a chance to prove, I agreed and am now very glad I did,’’ Mr Drewry said.

‘‘Ashley has become a proven member of the facilities team in all respects – he has shown enthusiasm, good problem-solving skills, adaptability and common sense.’’

Ashley has done food preparation for several species, and fence checking, and has helped with planting and track work.

Mr Drewry said he recommended that Ashley attend a chain-sawing programme, which he then successfully completed.

‘‘If Ashley completes his exams and chooses a career in conservation facilities I hope he might consider coming on to our team permanently in a trainee position.’’

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- The Wellingtonian

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