Encouraging young people to hope for more, despite setbacks, is a big part of the Patele-Joe Lolo’s job at NZMA, a second chance education institution. It is a role that draws on his education degree and his previous life and work experiences.
Patele-Joe’s first graduate role out of AUT was with the Ministry of Social Development, where he worked as a case manager helping with financial support over Covid.
“After a year I moved into an employment case management role, helping clients on job seeker benefits to get into full time work which often involved upskilling and further training. That experience gave me a lot of insight into the students I’m working with now,” he says.
Working with vulnerable youth at NZMA requires energy and adaptability, says Patele-Joe, who started at NZMA as a youth tutor before recently moving into a course advisor role. NZMA students are often dealing with a range of issues from dyslexia and autism to drug and alcohol abuse.
“The goal is to plant a seed in the students that they can follow their dreams and achieve their goals. It is great when they come into class happy and excited.”
Now as course advisor, Patele-Joe works on enrolments, doing face-to-face and phone interviews with potential students who may connect online or just walk in.
“Our aim is to try to nurture and build relationships with potential students, so they transition successfully into NZMA study.”
Patele-Joe enjoys helping students make the right decision about their education or career pathways.
“You get to help change people’s lives especially those who are passionate about making a change for themselves. We see the journey from when they enrolled into the classroom to life beyond.”
Patele-Joe says the CV and cover letter guidance he got from AUT Employability and Careers team helped him land his first role at the Ministry of Social Development.
He also credits the networking events set up by the team for helping to increase his confidence.
“There were many opportunities to network through Employability events - they really encouraged it. If I could wind back the clock, I’d be going to a lot more of those events because they offered lots of chances to meet with people from interesting organisations and hear about jobs.”
This exposure to the Employability Lab led to Patele-Joe signing up to the AUT Edge Award, a move he didn't regret.
“It is a great way to gain different experiences, especially with volunteering, because you develop good skills.”
NZMA campus manager Nigel McAuley advises students interested in youth work to get paid or voluntary work in the area.
“Coach a team - schools are often looking for coaching help – or get involved with an organisation like the YMCA. If someone is working in aged care and says they want to be in youth care but haven’t done anything about that, then I am not interested.”
Nigel also encourages students to develop good life skills.
“I’m big on self-improvement – on how someone has invested in themselves. Show me that. It is also crucial a tutor has good listening skills and can hold a conversation.”
Come and see us at the Employability Lab at WO202 or go to our online portal, Elab Online. Sign in, look for events and workshops or AUT Edge Award. We're there to help.