Tim Crawford hopes his experience of overcoming challenges and finding a new direction in life will inspire others to do the same.
In 2006, while he was working as a gym instructor and personal trainer, Tim took full custody of his two children. Becoming a solo parent meant he had to quit his job and go on the domestic purposes benefit. He remained on the DPB for seven years while raising his kids, but never lost his motivation or desire to get back to work. He studied business, but when that didn’t lead to work, he got a job as a laundry driver.
“The driving job wasn’t challenging me or helping me reach my potential,” he says. “So in 2015 I got a new job as a builder’s labourer. That company saw my potential and they offered me an apprenticeship which I grabbed with both hands.”
As part of his apprenticeship, and in order to become qualified in the trade, Tim studied a National Certificate in Carpentry at Ara Institute of Canterbury.
“It was awesome, even better than I’d expected,” he says. “I was treated like I was important and not just a number, and the staff went out of their way to help me succeed. I was supported and guided all the way.”
Tim says the classroom environment at Ara was interactive and fun with a touch of humour. “It was easy to ask questions and the course information was clear and concise with easy-to-follow book work and presentations. A highlight was seeing the tiny homes being built and seeing the whole process of construction.”
Tim says he didn’t do well at school but has made up for it at Ara. “I love to learn and Ara made it easy for me to do so. My story of getting off the benefit and at the same time looking after my children and running a household is something I’m really proud of. I hope it will inspire others who are in the same position I was, especially as an adult apprentice. I’m a better, happier person for it and some of my best moments in life were spent in the classrooms at Ara.”