From ākonga to kaimahi

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In a happy twist of fate, new social worker/counsellor Hildah Ntuli has returned to WITT Te Pūkenga, but this time she’s switched roles from ākonga to kaimahi.

After completing a social work degree at WITT in 2016, Hildah gained experience in mental health and addiction services and worked alongside individuals, families and young people through various mental health challenges. She has now brought her skills and experience to WITT as the new social worker/counsellor.

As part of the wider Student Success Team, Hildah is available to assist ākonga facing difficulties that could affect their studies and their ability to achieve their academic goals.

“Some students come for brief counselling or social work support when feeling stuck, stressed or overwhelmed and others need support because their wellbeing has been compromised by past events or their current circumstances,” says Hildah.

Hildah is enjoying the proactive nature of the role and has recently been part of the campus-wide mental health week activities.

“It’s nice to have a broader role where I am not so constricted.”

She also enjoys being part of a team who offer wraparound services including free and confidential health and medical care, counselling and chaplaincy for ākonga.

“I work closely with others in the team and in particular our mental health nurse Rachel Buckley,” she says.

Hildah’s path to social work began after supporting a vulnerable non-English speaking member of her community to seek support from Women’s Refuge.

“It was the first time I had come across social workers and noticed the scope of their work.”

At this time, she was also looking for a career change after previously training and working as a chef, a career which had taken her all over the world and in the end brought her to New Zealand from her home of Pretoria in South Africa.

“It was at a time when chefs were in high demand and I saw an ad for work as a chef at the Hermitage Hotel in Mt Cook.”

Along with her Austrian partner they moved to Taranaki and are now are a whānau of five.

If ākonga want to see Hildah they can drop into Te Puna Manaaki on the bottom floor of B Block and make an appointment or they can email or phone 06 757 3100 extension 8745.

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