• Natalie Jessup

Work experience enables Josh to broaden horizons

Josh McCarthy recently took part in a circuit breaker trial via the Thames Valley Alternative Learning Service and as a result more career and education pathways have opened for this motivated and inspirational young man.

The pilot programme supported Josh to be part of work-life experiences that he wouldn’t have otherwise had access to, and have helped him see himself as part of a bigger picture through employment.

Josh was helped by his teacher Naomi Fitzhenry, who is the Lead Tutor at Thames Valley Alternative Learning Service.

“It was such an amazing experience for them, and I couldn’t speak more highly of the programme,” says Naomi. “It helped get kids into new work experiences and gave them more internal belief in their own value”.

The funding for the programme allowed the alternative learning service to open doors for their rangatahi. It enabled the provider to employ them and gave the students the gear they needed to be work-ready.

“We were able to kit the kids up with steel cap boots, overalls for farming, sun hats etc, so they were fully equipped, dressed and ready to go,” says Naomi. “They don’t have a lot, so to be ready to go to a job, was a huge eye-opener”.

Josh says he enjoyed his job experience at a local mechanics the most. The team was interactive and he got to engage with them a lot.

“It was all hands on and you could take stuff apart and put it together. It was a good team of people”, says Josh.

The programme has been invaluable to help students see that they can be a functioning part of the community and fit in.

“I can 100% guarantee he wouldn’t have had these opportunities without this funding,” says Naomi.

Since completing the programme Josh has had increased confidence, felt more valued and has an att

itude that he can do this now. He can see a bigger picture of life and what is possible. Josh is also more settled in a social setting and has increased resilience.

Josh recently sat and passed his learning license. Moving forward he wants to go into small motor me

chanics and would like to set-up his own business. He currently mows lawns and is going to start an engineering programme at VETEL (Valley Education and Training Enterprises Ltd) to further his education. He will also continue to apply for jobs.

“Josh has plenty of challenges, but nothing holds him back. He has huge passion, drive and motivation,” says Naomi.
“He blows me away with his potential and desire to achieve in life. Josh is the most inspiring student I’ve had in this class. He is always striving and applies for jobs all the time, he’s not always successful, but he tries, and he doesn’t give up,” says Naomi.

As for Josh, he has learnt that nothing is impossible and will continue to apply for jobs and make progress towards his aims of setting up a small business in Paeroa.

“You can always achieve a little bit of your goals and achieve something,” he says. “Never give up, get out there and give it a go.”

For more information about this programme please contact:

Bevan Smith | Principal Adviser - Secondary Transitions

Te Mahau | Te Tai Whenua (Central)


Note: Circuit breaker trials were created in 2020 and 2021 to help youth aged 15-18, who were adversely affected by the impacts of COVID-19. These trials involved working with a range of rangatahi from various communities throughout the Waikato region and aimed to introduce something positive and inspiring into their lives to disrupt the path they were likely to be on. The trials focused on connecting rangatahi to training, employment or education by giving project experiences and providing eye-opening and achievable opportunities.

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