Jade Bollond always had a passion for early childhood teaching, which he pursued in high school, but his life took a different turn and instead he had a number of jobs including spending the last three years as a barista.
Now, thanks to a high school teacher and a grant from the new ChildForum scheme to get men into ECE, Jade is following his dream of doing something that makes a difference and becoming an early childhood teacher.
Last year, at the age of 21, he began working towards a Bachelor of Teaching ECE qualification. Jade says he is excited to be on the course after studying ECE in high school and enjoying it. In fact, he credits a former teacher with being on the course at all.
"If it had not been for her recommendation I probably would not have got into this degree in the first place," he says.
"She believed in me and I don't intend to let her down".
Jade says while the course has been tough and it had been an intense first year, he does not regret making the choice to study.
The grant he received through the ChildForum initiative has taken some of the stress away, Jade says, helping him to buy the required books and resources for his teaching practicum.
The reaction to his career choice has so far been positive with family and friends impressed at his decision and the fact that he is bolstering male numbers in a female dominated profession.
He hopes to encourage other men to do the same thing.
"If your passion is helping the next generation develop and become the people they are going to be, then do not hesitate," he says.
Note: We wish to acknowledge and thank the Ole Schoolhouse early childhood centre in Rotorua for sponsorship of the grant awarded to Jade.