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Apprentice Maddi Duley’s idea of “dream job” doesn’t exactly tick all the boxes for most teenagers.

The 18-year-old is an apprentice in aged care, a position she admits other young adults struggle to understand.


Maddi Duley is studying the New Zealand Apprenticeship in Diversional Therapy.

But she wouldn’t have it any other way, saying she has always wanted to look after others.

“A lot of my friends are like, ‘why are you working in a rest home?’ They were a bit confused,” she said.

“But it is really enjoyable … Working with the elderly is a wonderful opportunity to hear stories you might never hear otherwise, it’s a part of living history.

“I feel at home here. All the residents are so friendly and they really like me.”

Duley decided to train as a diversional therapist after graduating from Marlborough Girls’ College last year.

She became a regular volunteer at Redwood Lifestyle Care and Village, in Blenheim, and discovered her passion for spending time with the elderly.

“I always wanted to do something around looking after people. Working in aged care I realised how much I love it,” Duley said.

“It’s really interesting. You just have to look after them and respect their rights. And when you do that, you get that respect back.”

The average resident of the rest home was about 80-years-old, with the eldest aged 104.

The apprenticeship, which would last for 18 months, had already helped Duley realise that age was just a number, she said.

“You wouldn’t think she’s 104. She’s just so funny. When I found out I couldn’t believe it,” she said.

“There is a lot of interaction with people. And I love that, I’m a caring person.”

Along with the apprenticeship in community facilitation, which was run by industry training organisation Careerforce, Duley was employed at the rest home part-time as an activities assistant.

​While she does not have Adele blasting through the stereo just yet, Duley was making plans to update up the resident’s playlists by adding Abba to their sit and dance exercise class.

All events and activities were planned to give the residents more oomph, she said.

“It’s so rewarding to see the residents smile and say ‘hello’ to me when I come in, knowing that I’m making a difference and I’m an important part of their lives,” she said.

“There’s heaps of great career opportunities if you open your mind and follow your heart.”

Resident Katherine Bruning said it was nice to have some young blood around the home.

“It’s good to have someone young to talk to,” she said.


– JEFFREY KITT, The Marlborough Express.

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Last updated 11:43, June 20 2017

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