Turning dreams into reality
(Picture caption: Maitua Feterika in action for the Kiwi Ferns. CREDIT NRL.com.)
Maitua Feterika has had a surreal 2018 - playing in the first ever NRL Women’s Grand Final for the Brisbane Broncos; and then being selected to represent New Zealand with the Kiwi Ferns.
Her success is hard fought for – just three years ago, Maitua had no idea what the future held for her, or how she would find a way into the workforce.
In 2015, Maitua signed up for the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) funded Pacific Employment Support Service (PESS) programme through one of four providers, In-Work.
This initiative aims to help young Pacific people in Auckland and Hamilton find sustainable employment, education or training opportunities by working with providers, including In-Work, SENZ and Solomon Group.
These providers will motivate, train and match young people to jobs or education that best fit them, offering tailoring interventions such as career advice, coaching or interview skills.
In-Work through the PESS programme have provided the push Maitua needed to get out into the workforce, as well as the inspiration she could do anything she put her mind to.
Bubbly, outgoing and funny, Maitua is someone you can hear before you see her. Add to that confidence, and there is no stopping her now, Maitua says.
“My experience with In-Work was good because they were always looking out for me and always putting me into jobs – including the first one working at Air New Zealand’s Call Centre,” Maitua says.
“It was so weird because I never, ever thought I would be able to work in an office environment and talk confidently to strangers on the phone.
“I just didn’t know I could do it until Shanee (Edmonds, PESS Co-ordinator) encouraged me and gave me the confidence that I could work anywhere I wanted to.
“Also because I have a lisp too so everyone knows how I sound,” she quips.
Maitua adds that prior to taking part in the initiative, she was not confident within herself but the In-Work team helped her develop this confidence.
“It’s funny because everyone thinks I’m naturally confident but if you get me in a work environment I just freak out.”
Maitua adds she believes PESS is “cool” because she knows what it feels like to be young and Pacific, and she also knows the challenges they face.
“We have to provide for our families, and having support from In-Work is massive as we need people like them to reach out and encourage us to train and work.
“Just having someone who shows they care makes the difference.”
Maitua says if there is no support at home, the little push from the In-Work team is needed.
“In-Work drove me to my interviews, did my CV and taught me what to expect while I was at work.
“Also, the team helped me to see how these jobs contribute to the bigger picture.”
The skills and training Maitua received from working at the Air New Zealand Call Centre, Counties Manukau Sport and Mangere Pools assisted her in getting the job she has now as a Teacher Aide at Springfield College in the Art and Technology department, in Brisbane.
Maitua moved to Queensland six months ago because she was offered a four month contract to play for the Broncos NRL Women’s team.
“I had to apply for other jobs as well as I knew that my contract would end but I got the job while I was on contract, so I attended training after work and it really worked well for me.
“I’m really close to my mum so the move to Brisbane has been hard.
“My family is the most important thing to me and leaving them was difficult but I needed to get out of my comfort zone.
“I miss them every day but I know I am bettering my future for my family.”
Maitua says if you feel stuck in life, surround yourself with people who care and never forget who is there when you need them most.
“It is to up to you to make choices which create a better future better - so get out of the house go for a run because it helps,” she quips.
“Or give In-Work a call about the PESS programme, they would be happy to talk to you and hopefully help you like they helped me.”