When Ivan Bakulich Tuita’ali’i decided conventional school wasn’t for him anymore, an uncle suggested the Oceania Career Academy would suit him better.

Of Samoan, Maori and Croatian descent, the 17-year-old wanted to work towards an apprenticeship and a career in carpentry. “My uncle Nick said OCA was a good opportunity for me, to learn new things and get somewhere in life,” recalls Ivan.

Although it has only been a few weeks since Ivan began studying with OCA, he’s already learned so much. Ivan says it helps that his course tutors at OCA are helpful.

“They’re pretty friendly, easy to get along with and really supportive of me,” says Ivan.

Wanting to eventually be ready for an apprenticeship, Ivan would like to study carpentry, tiles or concrete. He enjoys the lessons at OCA, which are “mostly practical”. “I like working with my hands, and when they teach you about health and safety, it’s pretty straight forward,” says Ivan.

“Actually, when they teach you anything, they show you how to do it properly. And they’re always checking on the safety of the students throughout.”

Course tutor Stephen Bambury says it’s all part of the wrap-around support given to OCA’s students. “When they use a tool, we tell them how to use it before they use it, as well as the safety aspects around it,” says Stephen.

“Then they do the course work alongside, so they learn the information again in another way.”

Ivan is aiming to be ready for an apprenticeship by the end of his level 3 carpentry course and understands that he need to put in the work in order to achieve.

“I want to get through this course, get an apprenticeship and work.” Oceania Career Academy will help Ivan reach his goal, because he is putting in the work.  “When Ivan leaves here, he’ll have the skills to go and do it,” says Stephen. “He’ll be ready for work when we’re finished with him.”

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