Bright fu­ture for once-strug­gling teen

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

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.

PHOTO: LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIRFAX NZ

Ethan Watts is lov­ing his new job at Round­wood New Zealand af­ter coming through some dif­fi­cult years in his life.

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