Building career firmly in sight for Maori Trades Training graduate

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Malachi Paku got into a trade to further his goals, as well as to help his whanau.

“My dad was very strong and passionate about getting me and my brothers into the trades. In our family and in our community we didn’t have any tradespeople so having a trade is useful for us, our whanau, and our community so we could give back,” Malachi says.

He completed a pre-trade carpentry qualification at WelTec in 2016 with financial assistance through a Maori Trades Training scholarship.

“At first I didn’t know how to build a house at all. You always see new houses being built and it makes you think about how they do it,” he says. “I loved the whole physical side of it, loved being active and being outdoors.”

Malachi is now working for Golden Homes while he completes the National Certificate in Carpentry part-time at WelTec to become a fully qualified carpenter.

Craig Scoble from Golden Homes Wellington is pleased to provide employment opportunities for graduates.

“To succeed in the construction industry, the words of soccer great Pele come to mind — success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and, most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”

The opportunity to work for a large building company came about through WelTec’s jobs broker service.

“The jobs brokers thought it’d be a great opportunity for students to get into a trade, and the company had a look at a few of us,” Malachi says.

“It’s a five year plan — the first three years I’ll get my apprenticeship done, and years four to five I’ll be a subcontractor to Golden Homes.

“That matches my goals, as part of my vision is to own my own business. It’s fantastic as you really don’t get an opportunity like that straight away.”

Right now the 19-year-old works on the framework for new houses.

“I’m doing wrapping, strapping windows, doors, cladding, you name it. I’m already on my seventh house.”

He is also focused on helping his family.

“In our own house there are lots of opportunities. One thing we’re doing is building a deck soon and a BBQ area.”

While Malachi grew up in Wainuiomata and went to Hutt Valley High School, his family is originally from Gisborne.

“I’m Ngati Porou on my mum’s side, and I went back up to Gisborne in January. I did a few jobs at my grandmother’s place like the gutters and windows, and we’re building a deck there too,” he says.

Malachi is no longer the only one in the family looking at pursuing the trades — his twin brother Isaac has started in electrical engineering with WelTec, and younger brother Jerry could also be doing plumbing in the future.

“It’s made a big difference for us personally and for our whanau, and the scholarship really helped out.

“It gave me more time to study and focus on the methods I was being taught by my tutors. I was very thankful I got that scholarship.”