From teen mum to apprentice plumber

7 August 2019

Eighteen months ago, Hera Eruera was a stay-at-home mum of two kids. These days, she’s working as a trainee tutor at MIT’s School of Plumbing and Gasfitting , while doing an apprenticeship.

Increasing the number of women in trades is a key part of the strategy to provide the skills the country needs. Of the 700 apprentices the school trains each year, only one percent are female.

For Hera, an interest in working with her hands began at school when she met a lineswoman from Northpower. This led to the offer of an apprenticeship with the company.

However, at 17 and in her last year of school, she became pregnant and was unable to take up the opportunity, having two children before thinking again about a future career.

“I was at a crossroads. What am I going to do, I’m so young, can I cope? I was really fearful of falling into that stereotype, another young Māori girl getting pregnant, she’s going to rely on the system. I was struggling, not really having money for my kids’ nappies. I needed to figure out quickly what I’m going to do. Am I going to stick to the factory jobs that I’m doing, night shifts. I felt like my kids deserved more than this,” Hera told TV3’s The Project.

Hera began with a trades taster course before finding a passion for plumbing. Her study was supported by the Māori Pasifika Trades Training Initiative.

Here’s The Project NZ’s story on Hera.


See all stories