Student Success Stories

  • Maths & English

    “After spending all my life in Samoa, I moved to New Zealand last year, seeking a better education and brighter future for my four children. Back in Samoa I worked in retail and did volunteer reading at the local primary school. I’m really passionate about helping kids learn to read and write!

    “My dream is to study early childhood education at Ignite, but first I have to improve my maths and English. Studying literacy and numeracy has made a huge difference. I’ve gained a lot more confidence and have a far better understanding of English and maths now. I really enjoyed the course. The tutors helped me a lot, everyone was extremely supportive, and I made lots of new friends. Classes are small so there are lots of opportunities to ask questions. It’s not all just sitting in a classroom either. We did a wonderful class trip to the Botanical Gardens which I really enjoyed.

    “Coming back to school wasn’t always easy. I was working night shift at my cleaning job, and studying during the day. But I didn’t mind, because I really wanted to do it! I was lucky because my two eldest kids helped out a lot with the younger ones. In fact, they saw how much I got out of the course and they are both studying at Ignite now!

    “I have just graduated, and now I am saving as hard as I can, so that I can come back here and gain my Level 3 Certificate in Early Childhood Education! I can’t think of anything more rewarding than becoming an early childhood teacher.”

    Asolima Valu Taliaoa
    Maths and English

  • Early Childhood Education

    “The practical training facilities at Ignite Colleges make learning a lot of fun. There is a specially set up hospital room on campus where we learn how to use equipment like hoists and slings, and get taught how to make beds hospital-style. We get to practice on each other, which means when we go out on practicum, we feel a lot more confident.

    “I’ve recently completed a two-week practicum at Bethesda Care. I loved working with the elderly there, and learnt so much from observing the staff and helping out with tasks like feeding, and using the hoist and sling to lift them onto their commodes.

    “I’m really enjoying studying at Ignite. The course is very interesting because we’re not just sitting down writing all day, it’s very hands-on. Plus, my tutor is very good. He’s funny, lively, and explains everything clearly. He definitely keeps the class interesting! Everyone at Ignite is very welcoming and sociable. In fact, I’ve made friends with people from all over the world.

    “Before enrolling at Ignite I was working at an early childhood centre. I have a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and thought gaining some knowledge and qualifications in healthcare would really enhance my skillset. On a personal level I want to learn more about health and aged care because I’m not getting any younger! I want to know the sorts of things I’ll be going through over the coming years. On a professional level, one day I hope I can combine my knowledge of early childhood and health and turn it into a rewarding career. I’d love to start up my own home-based childcare business one day.”

    Penny Lagafaoa
    NZ Certificate in Health and Wellbeing Level 2

  • Health & Wellbeing

    “The minute I stepped into the Ignite Colleges campus I knew I was in the right place. I had an overwhelming feeling of wairua (spirit), a strong sense of belonging – and that was before I’d even signed up! I’d visited a lot of different schools but none of them felt right. When I walked into Ignite I felt instantly uplifted, like I’m really going to become somebody here.

    “I grew up surrounded by people with disabilities. For me, that’s not a label. These people are my whanau, and I was always looking for ways I could help make them happy and feel good about themselves. These experiences helped me understand that everyone is different, and made me appreciate life a lot more. My mum always said I had a natural ability to reach out and connect with people, but until recently, I never thought about tapping into that, and turning that talent into a career.

    “After six or seven years doing seasonal work in Southland I recently returned to Auckland and took time out to really try and pinpoint my passion. I was sick of just working for money – I wanted to find a career path that was fulfilling. I thought about all the people in my family that I’d made a positive impact on, and it gave me such a strong sense of accomplishment. When I listened to my heart, my path was quite clear. More than anything, I just want to make people happy.

    “Ignite’s free Level 2 Health and Wellbeing course was the perfect place to start. The course has been amazing, and when it comes to my tutor, I’m actually lost for words! He brings his own life stories and experiences to the class, and really helps us flourish. He has encouraged me to step into leadership roles, enhancing my skills and giving me confidence. I’ve grown so much since enrolling here.

    “I’m really looking forward to doing my practicum in a few weeks’ time and after I graduate I hope to find a job in a rest home to gain some experience. Next year I’ll be back at Ignite to complete my Level 3 and 4. These qualifications will help me achieve my long-term goal, which is to work as part of a mental health team. Mental health issues - such as depression, bipolar and schizophrenia - have had a big impact on my family. I’d love to try and combine my Maori ways and rongoā (traditional medicine) with the skills I’m learning at Ignite. I think that could be very powerful.”

    Pearly-An Grey
    NZ Certificate in Health and Wellbeing Level 2

  • Security

    “At Ignite they teach you how to dream big. They’re supportive, and their teaching style makes the course easy to understand. We are not just sitting in the classroom writing all day. We do roleplays and lots of other interesting activities. Eden Park security came into our class as guest speakers and we also have a fieldtrip to Auckland Airport. I’m only nine weeks into my course and I’ve already learnt so much – how to deal with people, how to protect ourselves, different laws and regulations.

    “My dad has worked in security for ten years, so I guess you could say I’m following in his footsteps! Ideally, I’d love to work in airport security, and I plan to apply after gaining my Level 2 and 3 security qualifications from Ignite. Eventually though, my dream is to get into the New Zealand Police. I think police officers are real heroes. They do such great work, keeping the peace and protecting people, and one day I would really like to join them.”

    Setima Papalii
    Certificate in Security Level 2

  • Security

    “I originally trained to be a customer service representative and worked in the contact centre industry for six years. I enjoyed the work – but you spend a lot of time sitting down. I wanted a job that was more active and physical, so I decided it was time to look for a new career.

    “I’m hooked on TVNZ’s Border Security, and one of my best friends also works in security. She has told me a lot about her job. It’s interesting, exciting and no one day is ever the same! When I found out that Ignite was running a free security course I immediately signed up.

    “It’s so good! I always look forward to coming to class. The people are so nice, I’ve made lots of new friends, and my tutor is great. He was a security guard before becoming a tutor so he really knows what he’s talking about! At the moment, we’re learning how to deal with intoxicated or aggressive customers. We do a lot of roleplays, which is fun. We also learn about things like operational requirements, regulations and rights. It’s pretty fascinating.

    “Tomorrow we’re going on a class trip to Auckland Airport, which I’m really looking forward to. Working in security at the airport – and meeting people from all over the world - is basically my dream job. That, or working for Customs. After finishing Level 2 I’m going to gain my Level 3, and then I’ll try and get into airport security. It’ll be 2018 by then. New year, new career!”

    Sera Patolo
    Certificate in Security Level 2

  • Hospitality

    “I moved here from Australia in 2015 and spent a year at high school, but I didn’t really enjoy it. I was looking to study – but in a different environment than school. I stumbled upon the Ignite Colleges website and saw they offered some free courses, so I picked out my favourite subject and enrolled!

    “I’d always wanted to learn more about hospitality and I really loved my Level 3 course. We got to experience lots of different kinds of events and functions, including the catering for a graduation ceremony and the night service for a farewell function. I was also chosen to go out into the community and show people what I’d been learning. At Ignite they have an onsite café for the hospitality students to gain experience in, so I learnt how to make coffees and serve real customers.

    “Initially I was planning to leave after gaining my Level 3 qualification, but I enjoyed it so much that I’ve just started my Level 4! The people at Ignite are really supportive and encouraging, so I knew that if I stayed on for Level 4 I would get all the help I needed to succeed.

    “Studying at Ignite Colleges is completely different from studying at high school, and it is definitely the best place for me. At school there were always lots of different assessments and so many different subjects to juggle, but at Ignite I get to focus on one subject which makes it really easy for me to study. When I graduate later this year I plan to get a job in the hospitality industry and my goal is to eventually work in the airlines or on a cruise ship. That’s one of the great things about hospitality – there are plenty of opportunities to work and travel.”

    Gloria Pati-Tamaalii
    NZ Certificate in Hospitality Levels 3 & 4

  • Early Childhood Education

    “I left school last year at the end of Year 11 and spent eight months working with my parents in their cleaning and maintenance businesses. I really wanted to get into nannying though – I help teach kids at karate and I also have quite a bit to do with the young children at our church. I love kids!

    “I’ve really enjoyed studying at Ignite Colleges. The campus is nice and big with a cool café and the atmosphere is good. There are not too many students so I feel comfortable here. As far as my ECE course goes, it has been great. The tutor is really cool – she explains everything well and matches her teaching style to our individual ways of learning. The course is really thorough; we spend lots of time focussing on each unit rather than rushing through topics like we did at high school. Classes are small so we get a lot of one-on-one attention which is great.

    “The practical, hands-on nature of the course has been one of the biggest highlights. We do lots of crafts and learn how to make our own resources. We also spend two weeks working in an early childhood centre. I worked in Tiny Wonders Early Learning Centre in Pukekohe, which was a great opportunity to put everything I had learned in class into practice.

    “Next year I am moving into further study and will gain a Level 5 nanny qualification. After that the world is my oyster – I plan to nanny in New Zealand for a while and eventually go overseas and work.”

    Melanie Bullock
    NZ Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care Level 3

  • Early Childhood Education

    “I have always wanted to work with children. Even when I was little I would set up all my teddies and read them stories! Initially I was thinking of going into primary school teaching but I’ve realised that I’m more suited to early childhood. At the start of this year I enrolled in an ECE correspondence course but I soon realised that that style of teaching doesn’t work for me – I’m the kind of person who needs to be in the classroom, face-to-face with a teacher. So I enrolled at Ignite Colleges, and I’ve loved it!

    “Ignite has been a really good fit for me. My tutor is really nice, I feel comfortable in the classroom, and the programme is very interactive. I like that the training is highly practical – it’s all very well having all the theory, but early childhood is really a subject that you need to get out there and do it in order to understand how things can be applied. During the course I spent two weeks working at Li’l Champs in Ormiston which was great. Having that practical side of the programme is so useful.

    “I did enjoy working in Li’l Champs however I have my sights set on becoming a nanny, rather than working in a centre. There’s less admin, more one-on-one with the children you are caring for, and you have more control over the activities you want to do with your children. It appeals to me more. So next year I’m going to do a Level 5 nanny course and then start my career as a full-time nanny. I plan to work in Auckland for the first year or two, before heading overseas – possibly Sydney - and working as a nanny over there.”

    Amber Meyer
    NZ Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care Level 3

  • Hospitality

    “I dropped out of school at the beginning of 2015 and spent over a year just staying at home. Sitting in bed watching TV all day gets pretty depressing after a while. I knew if I wanted to get anywhere in life I had to get out there and do something. I love cooking and I’m a really social person so I decided to study hospitality at Ignite Colleges.

    “Since studying at Ignite I have discovered a passion for bar service and bartending. I’ve also enjoyed our barista training, learning how to make all the different coffees, and understanding the origins behind the coffee beans. We have our own student run café at Ignite, so we gain work experience while we study. We study theory in the classroom in the mornings and then work in the café every day from 11.30am until 2.30pm. We learn how to serve customers and handle money, and we even get to do functions on campus. We get lots of work experience opportunities.

    “Before starting this course the only hospitality experience I had was working for a caterer a couple of times, but that was more helping with food preparation in the kitchen. Through studying at Ignite I’ve realised that I really love front-of-house. It’s a lot of fun! I’m about to complete my Level 3 and I’ve decided to stay on at Ignite for Level 4 before looking for a good job as a bartender. Further down the track I want to do my Level 5, gain my Manager’s Certificate and get into hospitality management.

    “I feel so much happier and better about myself now that I have a plan! Hospitality opens so many doors and gives you so many options. Finally I have a career path and a strong sense of direction, and I have Ignite Colleges and this course to thank for it.”

    Daneeka Brooke-Dass
    NZ Certificate in Hospitality Level 3

  • Hospitality

    “After leaving school earlier this year I got a job at New World, which gave me lots of confidence and developed my customer service skills. I was keen to keep building my knowledge and expanding my skill set, so when a friend recommended Ignite Colleges, I decided to enrol in their Level 2 hospitality programme.

    “The course is great. I love it! Everyone is very friendly and I’ve made so many new friends. The tutors are funny, and always ready to help you if you need it, which makes learning a lot easier. I’ve loved working with the other hospitality classes in the Ignite Colleges café. They tell us about what they are learning in Level 3 and they encourage us. It’s a very inspiring environment.”

    Christini Tetava
    NZ Certificate in Hospitality Level 2

  • Maths & English

    “I wanted to get into the army but I lacked the maths and English skills so I enrolled in ILN at Ignite Colleges. The course work was hard but my tutor explained everything clearly and simply, so that it was easy to understand. My tutor actually made learning fun! The course was so worthwhile – in fact I reckon I learnt more at Ignite Colleges than I did in high school.

    “After doing the course I applied for the army. They said my maths and English level was great, but unfortunately they turned me down because I have severe asthma. However they suggested I apply for the police force instead. I did that, and it looks like I’ll be starting my training next month!

    “I would recommend Ignite Colleges to anyone. Not only is it a nice environment, but the staff are all very good and get along really well with the students. They are not intimidating in any way; they are supportive and encouraging. They treat students as equals and really know what we need.”

    David Ngatuere-way
    Intensive Literacy and Numeracy (ILN)

  • Defence

    “I’ve always wanted to join the army – the structure and the lifestyle really appeal to me. I wanted to make sure I got in, so I enrolled in Ignite Colleges’ Defence Force Preparation course to lift my academic level and better prepare myself. I’m at the end of my course now and my tutor helped me put my army application form in last week. I find out in February. Fingers crossed!

    “I’ve enjoyed everything about studying at Ignite – the practical, the physical, the academic. The course is very hands-on and we cover all sorts of things, from automotive to first aid. Yes, some papers are pretty challenging, but you get lots of support from the tutors, so you get through it just fine. The tutors and staff here are so cool and I’ve made so many new friends.”

    Ilaisa Fifita
    New Zealand Certificate in Defence Force Preparation Level 3

  • Health & Wellbeing

    “I want to work in the healthcare sector because I'm a really caring person and I would like to take care of other people. I enrolled at Ignite Colleges after finishing high school and I’ve absolutely loved it. This place has the best tutors! They are really friendly, they help you in any way they can, and they truly believe in their students. Ignite knows that each student has their own potential and they do everything possible to bring out the best in each and every one of us. At Ignite it is all about the students and seeing them succeed.

    “One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about studying here is having the opportunity to attend careers expos. I’ve been to two of them during my course and they’ve taught me so much. I’m now about to graduate with my Level 4 qualification and from here I plan to continue onto further study in healthcare management and might eventually do a Bachelor of Nursing. My long-term career goal is to manage a rest home.”

    Saakshi Sunnaina
    Certificate in Healthcare Assistance Level 4

  • Health & Wellbeing

    “I finished Year 13 at the end of last year and have spent this year studying Level 3 and 4 healthcare at Ignite Colleges. My long-term goal is to become a radiologist, so I thought studying healthcare would be a great start. I came into the course as a total beginner – I was more into art and photography at high school and didn’t even take health, so it was all new to me! I’ve loved studying at Ignite. I’ve learnt so much here – far more than I ever thought I would. Some of the highlights have included learning about biology and structures, and doing diagrams. The clinical experience blocks have also been really valuable. For my clinical experience I did work experience at a hospital and rest home and then I stayed on for another three weeks learning about their healthcare systems.

    “Since studying at Ignite Colleges I’ve managed to get a great part-time job as a healthcare assistant at Ultimate Care. They were looking for someone with experience, and thanks to the clinical experience I gained during the course, I had what they were looking for. Ignite gave me a great reference too, so that helped a lot! Next year I’m going to keep working at Ultimate Care part-time and start my radiology studies.”

    Shivani Nadan
    Certificate in Healthcare Assistance Level 4

  • Freight & Logistics

    “I’ve been working for Inter-Freight as a swinglift operator for about three years, and I’ve been driving for 20. I came to Ignite because I want to be working in the office as a despatch person instead of driving. When I looked into it I realised you make more money sitting in an office than you do behind a steering wheel!

    “When I first started at Ignite, I found it hard to get my brain into study mode, but after a month or six weeks I was into it. The course was really valuable thanks to my brilliant teacher. I enjoyed everything, but particular highlights were learning about shipping and air cargo paperwork, understanding how to work out weights and volumes, and learning about documentation. I’m so glad I came to Ignite Colleges. The staff are really inspirational. They’re always happy and friendly and are really encouraging. If it wasn’t for their support I don’t think I would have completed.

    “Now I’m about to graduate and Inter-Freight have already offered me a part-time job in the office doing despatch, so I’m pretty happy. I’d love to carry on with my studies and gain my Level 4 qualification and my aim is to eventually be out on port in distribution or despatch.”

    Delamere Te Haara
    NZ Certificate in International Freight Logistics Level 3


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