Bright future for once-struggling teen
Ethan Watts certainly is testimony that one can rise again with the right support and attitude.
Life has been tough for someone who is still so young.
By 18 the Tokoroa teen had lost both his parents to cancer.
To deal with it he started hanging out with the wrong crowd and dropped out of school in his final year.
With no job and a sister struggling to pay the mortgage on the family homestead, Ethan’s outlook was bleak.
‘‘My dad passed away in 2007 and pretty much since it was all down hill and then my mum passed away in 2010 so it just got even steeper,’’ he said.
‘‘I then decided to leave school because I wasn’t in the right headspace. I became a bum.’’
But Ethan was not one to give up completely and neither was the Tokoroa branch of the Wera Aotearoa Charitable Trust which helps mentor and support 16 to 19-year-olds.
‘‘My desire was to find a way to financially support what remained of my family. I wanted to help my sister pay the mortgage to take the weight of her shoulders for a bit.
‘‘I’d been part of the Wera whanau since I was 16 through school and one morning my mentor Aaron Dean came up and said he wanted me to come down and see him so I did and we put together a CV.’’
Dean kept a close eye on job prospects and when one come up at Roundwood New Zealand he quickly got Ethan onto it. Little over a week later Ethan was employed as a maintenance assistant. He said he was loving his new job and thanked Dean for all he had done.
‘‘My dad was a mechanic and people that knew him praised him because he was a bit of a Macgyver that fella, he could make anything out of nothing.
‘‘It’s like I am following in his footsteps and I know my parents would be very proud of me,’’ Ethan said.
‘‘The first two days I was yawning by 10am but the first yawn is coming at about 2pm now.’’
He encouraged other young people going through similar situations to never give up.
‘‘Just stay strong, keep your head up high, keep looking forward, and don’t look back,’’ he said.
Roundwood New Zealand health, safety, and compliance manager Trevor Wilson said Ethan will be trained over four years to become certified.
Ethan Watts is loving his new job at Roundwood New Zealand after coming through some difficult years in his life.