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When youth worker Futi Ka describes his career, he refers to the Samoan proverb ‘o le ala i le pule o le tautua’ (The pathway to leadership is through service). Futi said, “If I look at my career, it’s been just that.”

The Ōtara-born father of three has recently completed his apprenticeship in Community Facilitation (Youth Work) through Industry Training Organisation, Careerforce.

Futi changed his attitude towards studying

Futi Ka (right) with Quality Education Services youth work team members.

Not only did he finish the Level 4 programme much faster than the average duration, but he also motivated his team of youth workers at Quality Education Services to do the apprenticeship with him: “I’m all for professional development for the team,” he said.

It’s an impressive achievement for someone who used to hate studying.

“I always struggled in school with my education and found it hard to focus in class”, Futi said, “I was dropped a year level and finished high school with only my NCEA Level 2, which I barely met the mark for.”

“Once I started the training with Careerforce, I realised the learning tied directly to the experience. It validated and sharpened what I was doing in terms of leading and guiding.

“I was able to gain some learning tools from the apprenticeship for people I saw were heading down the same track or stuck in the same situation that I once was in.”

Support from his team and Careerforce

Futi says the peer support he had from his team also doing the apprenticeship made things easier, as well as the support from Careerforce Apprenticeship Advisor, Kailash Devan: “The great thing about Kailash is that he left the door open. If we struggled online, we could send him an email and he was quick with his responses,” he said.

“I’ve learnt a lot from Futi as well,” Kailash said, “Reading through Futi’s modules and talking to him and seeing his strengths in empowering others, it has been a pleasure working alongside him.”

Futi is passionate about serving the community

Futi said serving his community is at the core of what he does. Over the last ten years, he’s been involved with the South Auckland community in various roles; from running holiday programmes to working with high-risk youth offenders, and most recently the team leader of Quality Education Services’ youth service, NEET. Quality Education Services is a charity in South Auckland bringing help and hope to people from all ages and stages of life through education, training and pastoral care.

A career highlight for Futi was running the 2021 E Tu Rangatahi Otara Youth Week & Expo, a large Youth Week event at Otara Kai Village. Through grant funding, the entire event was free, and which included games, live cooking shows, and food. It was supported by 18 private training establishments who were available for young people to chat to.

Futi says the most rewarding part of his job is seeing the shift in a young person’s mindset or behaviour: “That’s what makes me satisfied – because as long as there’s a shift in mindset and behaviour it means now they’re open to change.”

Futi has been transparent about his apprenticeship journey with the youth he supports and hopes it might help inspire them to consider studying too.

“Never did I think that in my thirties that I’ll go back and study but, through Careerforce, they made it possible. It’s never too late to start.”

More information

Featured image: Futi Ka (centre) at a Quality Education Services graduation night with some of the young people he supported.